Illegal drug use rises across Europe – The Portugal News

Analyses of wastewater from 25 European countries, including Portugal, revealed an increase in drug use in 2021, with emphasis on cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines, with a decrease in MDMA (ecstasy).
By TPN/Lusa, in News, Europe · 17 Mar 2022, 15:08 · 0 Comments
Data on samples collected in wastewater are included in the study “Wastewater analysis and drugs” – carried out in 75 cities in 25 countries, with data collected in Lisbon, Almada and Porto in Portugal – which refers to 2021 and is published by the European group SCORE, in collaboration with the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
According to elements made available by the EMCDDA to the Lusa agency, “the 2021 results point to an overall increase in the detections of four of the five drugs studied” (cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines and MDMA, with MDMA being the only substance that recorded decreases) in most of the cities investigated.
The main conclusions of this study, carried out between March and May 2021, in the midst of restrictions resulting from the covid-19 pandemic, point out that cocaine residues in wastewater continued to be higher in cities in western and southern Europe (in particularly in Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain), but traces were also found in most cities in Eastern Europe, where some increases were observed.
“Globally, in 2021, more than half of cities recorded increases in cocaine residues compared to 2020 data (32 of 58 cities with data for both years)”, says the EMCDDA, recalling that another recent European Wastewater Project (EUSEME) detected crack cocaine residues in all 13 European cities that participated, with the highest loads in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Antwerp (Belgium).
As regards methamphetamine, a drug “traditionally concentrated in the Czech Republic and Slovakia”, it is now present in Belgium, Cyprus, eastern Germany, Spain, Turkey and several northern European countries (Denmark, Lithuania, Finland, Norway).
The level of amphetamine residues varied between cities, with the highest loads being reported in northern and eastern European cities (Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Finland) and much lower levels in southern cities, although that more than half (28 out of 55) of cities with data for 2021 and 2020 reported an increase in waste found.
MDMA down
MDMA was the “only drug” where residues decreased in most cities studied.
The study justifies this trend, in which almost two-thirds of cities with data for 2021 and 2020 (38 out of 58) reported a decrease in loads in 2021, “possibly due to the closure of nightlife venues during the covid-19 pandemic, where this drug is frequently consumed”.
The highest MDMA residues were found in cities in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.
According to the EMCDDA, the study reveals differences between cities in the same country, which can be partially explained by their different social and demographic characteristics (age distribution, universities, nightlife, among others).
“In most countries with multiple study sites, residues found were higher in large cities than in smaller sites for three of the stimulants. No such differences were found for amphetamine and cannabis. Seventeen of the countries that participated in data collection in 2021 included two or more study sites,” the report explains.
Weekly fluctuations
With regard to consumption, wastewater analysis found fluctuations in weekly patterns of drug use, with more than three-quarters of cities reporting higher levels of residues of typically recreational drugs, cocaine and MDMA, at weekends ( from Friday to Monday) than during the week, despite the fact that much of the night time economy was shut down in Europe in 2021.
In contrast, residues from the other three drugs were more evenly distributed throughout the week.
From Barcelona (Spain) to Limassol (Cyprus) and from Oslo (Norway) to Porto (Portugal), the study analysed daily samples of wastewater in the areas affected by wastewater treatment plants during periods of one week, between March and May 2021.
Wastewater from around 45 million people was analysed for traces of four illicit stimulant drugs (cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA/ecstasy) as well as cannabis.
The SCORE group has carried out annual wastewater monitoring campaigns since 2011, when 19 cities participated, in a total of 10 countries.
Widespread use
The director of the EMCDDA, Alexis Goosdeel, says, quoted in a statement, that the findings of this study “allow us to have a valuable picture of drug use in 75 cities, providing important information on emerging trends”, noting that “the results show an increase and spread of most of the substances studied, reflecting a problem of consumption of drugs simultaneously widespread and complex”.
“Over the last decade, wastewater analysis has evolved from an experimental technique to a consolidated tool for monitoring illicit drug use in Europe. This study explores the potential for future research on wastewater, from the identification of new psychoactive substances to the evaluation of interventions aimed at public health programs and the strengthening of preparedness and response”, concludes Aléxis Goosdeel.
Share this article: Share
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Portugal14 Mar 2022, 11:08
By TPN, In News, World14 Mar 2022, 09:02
By TPN, In News, Portugal13 Mar 2022, 20:07
The Portugal News provides, free, independent, honest and unbiased news in print, online, on social media and in emailed newsletters. We support local communities, foreign residents and visitors of all nationalities to Portugal with news and views on all things Portuguese. This takes a dedicated, motivated loyal team. To help us continually improve our services we ask you to consider making a contribution – no matter how small.
You can change how much you give or cancel your contributions at any time.
Be the first to comment on this article
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Portugal14 Mar 2022, 11:08
By TPN, In News, World14 Mar 2022, 09:02
By TPN, In News, Portugal13 Mar 2022, 20:07
Of the 101 new inspectors of the Judiciary Police (PJ) who have now taken office, 60% have been placed in the fight against corruption, economic and financial crime and cybercrime.
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Portugal 17 Mar 2022, 16:08
At the swearing-in ceremony for the 101 new inspectors, the director of the Judiciary Police, Luís Neves, also added that 27% of the new staff were allocated to “reinforce the capacity of building human resources”. He also highlighted that of the approximately 2,500 candidates for the training course, only 4% (101) completed the course -…
About 50,000 Nepalese have entered Portugal in recent years, according to the Hindu Community of Portugal.
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Portugal 16 Mar 2022, 11:08
“This new wave [of immigration] started three, four years ago. They are Hindus, but most came from Nepal. Statistics, official figures through the Nepalese Consulate, the High Commissioner for Migration and embassies, indicate that around 50,000 people entered Portugal from Nepal alone,” said Ajit Hansraj, former vice-president of the Hindu…
The Minister of the Environment has said that the State “does not and does not want to fix” the price per litre of diesel or petrol, guaranteeing that the Government “does not want to have more revenue” due to the increase of fuels.
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Portugal, Politics 16 Mar 2022, 10:04
In the debate taking place at the Standing Committee of the Assembly of the Republic, made at the request of the PCP on fuel prices, the first party to question the Minister of the Environment and Climate Action, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, was the PSD, through the deputy Afonso Oliveira, who accused the PS Government of being “responsible for…
The PSP has announced that it recorded 961 situations of violence in hospitals and health centres last year, 16% more than in 2020.
By TPN/Lusa, In News 16 Mar 2022, 09:02
As part of the “Saúde em Segurança” proximity policing program, which is taking place this week, the PSP states that about 80% of hospitals and medical centres belonging to the National Health Service (SNS) are in the area of PSP responsibility. “In 2021, 961 situations of violence were recorded in these health units, which…
The Judiciary Police (PJ) are investigating the death of an elderly couple in Lagos and are waiting for the results of the autopsies to gather more information about the case.
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Crime, Algarve 15 Mar 2022, 16:20
The bodies of the couple, aged 74 and 77, were found in the house where they lived by their son in the early hours of Sunday, with police sources indicating to Lusa that it appears to be a case of murder followed by suicide although “all hypotheses are open”, according to the same source. “The experts were carrying out investigations on…
The leader of the Chega party has defended that reducing taxes is the only way in a “modern and democratic country” to fight the rise in fuel prices.
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Portugal, Politics 15 Mar 2022, 13:07
In a demonstration that brought together about 70 people near the prime minister’s official residence, in Lisbon, André Ventura told journalists that, so far, the Government has only wanted to “distribute indirect incentives” to combat the increase in fuel prices – giving the example of increasing the monthly value of the Autovaucher – instead of…
By TPN/Lusa, In World, Portugal17 Mar 2022, 18:09
By TPN/Lusa, In Sport17 Mar 2022, 17:07
By Advertiser, In Business17 Mar 2022, 16:54
The body of the German tourist who was swept away by a wave in the west of Madeira has…
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Madeira & Azores13 Mar 2022, 10:06
The workers of the Metropolitano de Lisboa (ML) will carry out a partial strike on Friday…
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Portugal, Lisbon12 Mar 2022, 10:05
Much needed rain is expected across the country
By TPN, In News11 Mar 2022, 08:00
Seven districts in Portugal will be on Friday and Saturday, under an orange weather…
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Portugal10 Mar 2022, 10:04
A golfer will receive compensation of €595.81 for the days he was unable to use his golf…
By Paula Martins, In News, Portugal, Sport08 Mar 2022, 20:09
About 7,000 doctors working in Portugal have demanded in an open letter, the immediate…
By TPN/Lusa, In News, Portugal, World08 Mar 2022, 14:02
Send us your comments or opinion on this article.
Reaching over 400,000 people a week with news about Portugal, written in English, Dutch, German, French, Swedish, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Romanian, Turkish and Chinese.
+351 282 341 100


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *