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What Europe’s Sewage Says About Its Drug Habits

SCIENCE DAILY (USA), LE FIGARO, AFP (France)

Worldcrunch

Scientists in Norway and Italy have analyzed sewage samples from European cities to compare the drug habits of their inhabitants, the Science Daily reports.

Tracing the urinary biomarkers of cocaine, amphetamine, ecstasy, methamphetamine and cannabis in sewage from 19 cities in 11 European countries during seven consecutive days in March 2011, the researchers from the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) in Oslo and the Mario Negri Institute in Milan say they were able to get an accurate measure of drug use across the population, reports Le Figaro.

The results, published in the Science in the Total Environment journal, found the highest cocaine use in Antwerp (Belgium), followed by Amsterdam (Netherlands), the AFP reports. Amsterdam also had the highest concentration of ecstasy and cannabis. The highest levels of methamphetamines were found in Helsinki and Turku (Finland), as well as Oslo (Norway).

Extrapolating from their results, scientists estimate that 500 million Europeans consume approximately 355 kilograms of cocaine daily. According to the AFP, the report says that about a third of European citizens have tried an illicit drug. At least one person dies of an overdose every hour.

In general, says the Science Daily, cocaine and ecstasy loads were most elevated on weekends, spiking on Friday and Saturday nights.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

A Decisive Spring? How Ukraine Plans To Beat Back Putin's Coming Offensive

The next months will be decisive in the war between Moscow and Kyiv. From the forests of Polesia to Chernihiv and the Black Sea, Ukraine is looking to protect the areas that may soon be the theater of Moscow's announced offensive. Will this be the last Russian Spring?

Photo of three ​Ukrainian soldiers in trenches near Bakhmut, Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers in trenches near Bakhmut, Ukraine

Anna Akage

Ukrainian forces are digging new fortifications and preparing battle plans along the entire frontline as spring, and a probable new Russian advance, nears.

But this may be the last spring for occupying Russian forces.

"Spring and early summer will be decisive in the war. If the great Russian offensive planned for this time fails, it will be the downfall of Russia and Putin," said Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence.

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Skinitysky added that Ukraine believes Russia is planning a new offensive in the spring or early summer. The Institute for the Study of War thinks that such an offensive is more likely to come from the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk than from Belarus, as some have feared.

Still, the possibility of an attack by Belarus should not be dismissed entirely — all the more so because, in recent weeks, a flurry of MiG fighter jet activity in Belarusian airspace has prompted a number of air raid alarms throughout Ukraine.

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