March 19, 2018
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has released its latest dataset based on an analysis of wastewater to “to estimate the quantity of drugs consumed by a community by measuring the levels of illicit drugs and their metabolites excreted in urine”. The results are presented in milligrams per thousand people per day, and more on the methodology behind the study can be found here
The dataset includes 56 European cities and towns, with some notable omissions, such as Rome and Madrid, while London appears in the tabulated data but not on the maps. To quote some key parts of the summary:
Methamphetamine use remains generally low. Traditionally concentrated in the Czech Republic
and Slovakia, it now appears to be present in Cyprus, the east of Germany and northern Europe
(e.g. Finland and Norway).
Traces of cocaine in wastewater suggest that cocaine use is highest in western and southern European cities, particularly in cities in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK
Most of the cities observing sharp increases in traces of MDMA in the period 2011–16 reported a stabilising trend in 2017.
The loads of amphetamine detected in wastewater varied considerably across the study locations, with the highest levels reported in cities in the north and east of Europe. Amphetamine was found at much lower levels in cities in the south of Europe.
Cocaine use in Europe. All maps and charts from emcdda.europa.eu
With regard to cocaine, and looking at the weekly average (with the data also available in weekday and weekend breakdowns), the top city is Barcelona, at 965.2 mg/1000 people/day, closely followed by Zurich, at 934.42. In contrast, the lowest ranked city is Turku, in Finland, with just 4.7, while Ljubljana is ranked 11th, at 449.76. The daily trend for cocaine use in Ljubljana is shown below.
Amphetamine use in Europe
Turning to amphetamine, Eindhoven in the Netherlands is top of the list, with 271.7 mg/1000 people/day, followed by Antwerp Zuid, in Belgium, with Ljubljana in 32nd place, with just 35.2 mg, and a relatively stable daily use trend.
MDMA use in Europe
Finally, looking at MDMA use around Europe, the top city by far is Amsterdam, with 230.3 mg, followed by Eindhoven at 165.1, and then Antwerp Zuid at 95.3. Here Ljubljana is in 13th place, with 35.6 mg. As in other cities, the weekend is when people tend to take more of this drug.
You can explore this dataset in more detail, including interactive maps and charts, here.