Three Dutch cities in top ten for drug use [Full rankings]

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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)  

Country City Amphetamine Rank Cocaine Rank Ecstasy Rank Methamphetamine Rank THC / Cannabis Rank
Bosnia & Herzegovina Sarajevo 13 33 40 32 22
Belgium Antwerp (Deurne) 5 8 9 22 15
  Antwerp (Zuid) 2 1 4 21 14
  Brussels 20 19 19 28 13
  Geraardsbergen 39 35 1 32 28
  Koksijde 23 27 21 32 23
  Ninove 4 22 20 32 21
Switzerland Basel 18 9 14 16 n/a
  Berne 24 15 10 13 n/a
  Geneva 15 10 17 32 n/a
  St. Gallen 40 12 8 15 n/a
  Zurich 14 3 5 14 n/a
Cyprus Nicosia 38 37 39 26 n/a
  Limassol 37 25 38 29 n/a
Czech Republic Budweis 26 40 26 3 14
  Prague 17 28 15 1 16
Germany Dortmund 6 11 18 5 11
  Dülmen 40 30 40 32 24
  Dresden 9 39 36 32 17
Denmark Copenhagen 22 18 13 17 n/a
Spain Barcelona 29 5 6 12 6
  Castellon 36 14 28 32 9
  Santiago 19 20 25 9 12
  Valencia 34 6 30 20 20
Finland Helsinki 8 38 12 10 n/a
  Turku 12 43 34 7 n/a
France Paris 40 17 11 25 3
Great Britain London 16 4 7 19 n/a
Greece Athens 31 26 37 24 7
Croatia Zagreb 33 24 27 31 18
Italy Milan 35 16 24 11 25
Netherlands Amsterdam 7 2 3 23 2
  Eindhoven 1 7 1 32 8
  Utrecht 10 13 2 30 5
Norway Oslo 11 23 22 2 10
Portugal Lisbon 40 21 32 32 29
Romania Cluj-Napoca 40 44 40 32 29
Serbia Belgrade 28 31 16 32 27
  Novi Sad 25 36 23 32 1
Sweden Gothenburg 3 34 31 8 29
  Stockholm 21 29 40 18 29
  Umeå 27 41 35 27 29
Slovakia Bratislava 30 32 29 4 19
  Piestany 32 42 40 6 26

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