In Europe, cocaine use continues to increase. Methamphetamine, better known as crystal meth, is also becoming more widespread. That goes from the new European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) wastewater analysis that was presented in Lisbon on Wednesday.
In the spring of 2022, scientists took samples from the catch basins of sewage treatment plants in more than 100 European cities and examined them for residues and degradation products of drugs.
In the case of ecstasy (MDMA), amphetamines and cannabis, consumption increased in some cities and decreased in others. Ketamine, which is a powerful pain reliever and anesthetic but is also abused as a party drug, was included in the analysis for the first time. The highest residues were found in Denmark, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Antwerp is by far the European cocaine capital, which is not surprising given that the port there has become the main gateway for the drug from South America in recent years. Consumption is also particularly high in the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, where a lot of cocaine also arrives. Overall cocaine residues have more than tripled since 2015, as shown by a sample of seven EU cities participating in the analysis each year.
The most addictive form of methamphetamine, traditionally used primarily in eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, has now spread to Belgium, Spain, Cyprus, Turkey and northern European countries. Unlike cocaine and ecstasy, for example, where consumption is significantly higher at weekends, it is taken evenly throughout the week.
In Germany, where ten cities took part in the current study, residues of crystal meth were mainly found in the east; mostly in Chemnitz. When it comes to cocaine, Berlin is way ahead, followed by Dortmund, Munich and Magdeburg. Frankfurt, which was still at the top together with Dortmund in 2017, did not take part in the analysis this time.
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