Three Dutch cities in top ten for drug use [Full rankings]
Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Utrecht consistently show up in the top ten cities for average drug use, according to a new study published today. The research looked at wastewater samples taken in 45 different cities or city districts between 2011 and 2013, with samples analyzed for cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy) and THC from marijuana use. Samples were taken over a one-week period in each year. “The trends we observed from our latest work is that the Dutch cities are front runners in four out of five illicit drugs that we monitored,” said University of Amsterdam professor Pim de Voogt. De Voogt supervised the Netherlands research used in the European-wide study while working with KWR, a firm specialized in water research.
“The availability of these drugs and prices are relatively low, and so I think the situation as human health is concerned is a little worrying,” he said in an interview with the NL Times. Amsterdam and Eindhoven were in the top ten for the amounts of drug residue found in the sewers in four of the five categories, joined closely by Utrecht. The three cities all landed in the lower half of cities ranked by methamphetamine use. De Voogt attributed this to ease of access to these drugs in both the Netherlands and Belgium, where Antwerp Deurne and Antwerp Zuid also rank similarly high. “Most of the illegal facilities for making speed and ecstasy are in Belgium and the Netherlands, and major harbors in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp,” could be responsible for the prevalence of cocaine. Of the 45 regions monitored, 11 were not analyzed for cannabis use. The professor also pointed out that in Utrecht there have been several cases where drugs were dumped into the sewer systems. This can happen when a dealer or supplier fears capture by the police and flushes large quantities down toilets and drains. De Voogt said these situations could have lead to higher, possibly skewed figures in Utrecht. The joint research does not include corresponding tourism figures as a way of explaining variations in the water analysis. It does show that across the board, the quantities of the five drugs found in the Dutch cities’ water systems remained fairly constant over the last three years, De Voogt said. The scientific article is scheduled for publication in the academic journal Addiction. It was run by the Sewage Analysis Core Group Europe (SCORE) for the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)