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Report reveals MDMA use has dropped due to lockdown

Other drugs have seen a rise in use, according to the EU report

  • Aneesa Ahmed
  • 18 March 2022
Report reveals MDMA use has dropped due to lockdown

A new report by the Lisbon-based European Union drugs agency (EMCDDA) has found that the closure of nightclubs over the COVID lockdowns may be the reason for a drop in MDMA use.

However, the report found that despite MDMA use being on the decline - drugs such as cocaine and cannabis saw a rise in use over the course of the past couple of years.

Read this next: Molly: Everything but the girl

The study examined wastewater from almost 45 million people across 75 European cities - from Barcelona to Oslo. These cities' wastewater all saw an increase in the residue of drugs such as cocaine, amphetamine, cannabis and methamphetamine.

However, MDMA was not as prevalent in the water as it was in pre-COVID times. The EMCDDA has attributed this decline in prevalence to the lack of party environments open during the COVID lockdowns, as MDMA is traditionally associated with club culture.

It found that almost two-thirds of the cities with data for 2021 and 2020 (38 out of 58) reported a drop in loads in 2021- and that the highest loads of MDMA were found in cities in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.

Read this next: We went undercover in a Chinese MDMA factory

As reported by Reuters, EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel said: "The results show both a rise and spread for most of the substances studied, reflecting a drugs problem that is both pervasive and complex."

The study shows that drugs are reported to be more evenly spread across European cities, whereas previously there would be geographical patterns in trends. Cocaine still remains most prevalent in western and southern European cities, but have increasingly become prevalent in eastern European cities.

Methamphetamine, historically concentrated in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, is now reported in more cities at a higher rate.

Read this next: Scientists are recommending MDMA for treating mental health after lockdown

Cannabis has seen little to no change, as cannabis prevalence has remained consistent between pre-COVID and post-lockdown times.

A 2021 report by the UN found that drug use overall was on a rise, something which is attributed to the increase in problems such as poverty and unemployment.

For more information, visit the EMCDDA website and read the EU report here.

Read this next: Ecstasy island: this is the story of how MDMA reached the UK in 1988

Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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