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The drug capitals of Europe: Barcelona tops the list for cocaine use and Amsterdam for MDMA, reveals an analysis of wastewater (and where do you think the worst for crystal meth is?)

March 7, 2018 3:22 PM
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Barcelona is the cocaine capital of Europe, scientists today revealed.

The Spanish city, famous for its glorious weather, topped the charts in an analysis of drug-use across the continent.

Just one British city made the list of the 10 worst offenders for cocaine use, with Bristol coming in at sixth.

London did not feature in this year's list, compiled on behalf of the EU drugs agency. However, it was deemed the capital in 2014 and 2015.

In a report released today, it was also revealed that the Dutch city of Eindhoven is the capital for using amphetamines, such as speed.

Amsterdam topped the bill for MDMA usage and Chemnitz in Germany was found to have the highest use of crystal meth across the continent.

Researchers made their conclusion after analysing samples of wastewater from 56 cities in 19 European countries.

The project, which took place over a one-week period in March last year, is estimated to have captured data from 43 million people.

Scientists estimate how many drugs used in a community by measuring the levels of illicit drugs and metabolites excreted in urine.

The following data, from the report on behalf of the EU Drugs Agency, shows the cities with the highest MDMA use in Europe.

In terms of cocaine usage, the analysis revealed, on average, Barcelona gets through 965.2mg each day for every 1,000 residents.

This is the highest amount since records began and is 34 per cent higher than when the Belgian city of Antwerp scooped the first gong in 2011.

Statistics show it is 33 times higher than the figure recorded in Helsinki (29.9mg) - the capital city of Finland.

Zurich, Switzerland, came second this year. It's toll of 934.4mg of cocaine each day for every 1,000 residents is the second highest figure ever recorded.

Bristol (754.7mg) was also beaten by Antwerp (822.9mg) and the two Swiss cities of St Gallen (821.7mg) and Geneva (794.8mg).

He added that cocaine is 'cheaper and purer than ever' in the UK and is to blame for a spike in people seeking help on a cash-strapped NHS.

The analysis also showed that use of MDMA and cocaine spikes at weekends, when thousands of clubbers hit the streets in the quest of a good night.

Cocaine is deemed the world's second favourite illegal drug, after cannabis, and has an older user base - dubbed 'silver snorters'.

It is estimated almost 750,000 adults in England and Wales use cocaine each year.

One in ten Britons have tried cocaine at least once, despite it being deemed a Class A substance and in the same bracket at heroin.

In 2014, there were an estimated 1.5 million current users of the drug in the US - where the drug is in the second-most dangerous class, figures suggest.

It comes after worrying research last May suggested just a single snort of cocaine could be enough to get addicted.

The findings, made by scientists at McGill University, bolstered the growing evidence about cocaine's damaging long term effects.


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