Amsterdam leads European cities for MDMA, cannabis traces in wastewater
Amsterdam had the highest loads of MDMA found in sewage water out of 75 European cities, with Utrecht and Eindhoven following closely behind, according to an analysis by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction. The Netherlands also was one of the top countries for cannabis, cocaine and amphetamine usage.
Wastewater in 75 European cities and towns was examined to estimate the quantity of recreational drugs people consumed in each location. Because people eliminate traces of almost everything they consume in their urine, analyzing sewage water is a way to determine the illicit drug use of a population, according to the report.
Overall, the study found that cocaine use is highest in cities in western and southern Europe. Amphetamine tended to be higher in northern and eastern European cities.
Amsterdam led the list when it came to MDMA usage. On weekends, MDMA usage was even higher in Amsterdam than on weekdays, despite nightlife being closed for much of 2021.
The city was also second only to Barcelona in the cannabis load found in the sewage water. While in Barcelona, cannabis usage skyrocketed during the weekends, loads remained fairly consistent in Amsterdam wastewater throughout the week.
Amsterdam came in second for cocaine usage on weekdays and fourth on weekends, behind Antwerp, Bristol and St. Gallen Hoffen. Another recent project analyzing European wastewater, EUSEME, similarly found Amsterdam to have one of the highest loads of crack cocaine in water.