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