What Europe’s Sewage Says About Its Drug Habits
SCIENCE DAILY (USA), LE FIGARO, AFP (France)
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.