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MDMA use is falling and other drug use is rising in Europe

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2022-03-18 MDMA use falls and other drug use rises in Europe

The closure of nightclubs and bars amid COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe is likely behind a significant drop in party drug MDMA use last year, but consumption of other substances such as cocaine and cannabis continued to rise.

A study of wastewater from nearly 45 million people in 75 European cities, conducted by the Lisbon-based European Union Drugs Agency (EMCDDA), found that the use of most drugs, except MDMA, increased last year.

European drug problem

About half of the cities where the study was conducted, ranging from Barcelona to Oslo, registered an increase in detected residues of cocaine, amphetamine, cannabis and methamphetamine in wastewater.
"The results show both an increase and a spread for most of the substances studied, indicating a drug problem," EMCDDA director Alexis Goosdeel said in a statement.

A United Nations report from 2021 showed a large increase in drug users worldwide as a result of the pandemic. It said many used drugs because of poverty, unemployment and inequality. MDMA was the only substance whose residues decreased in most of the cities surveyed, possibly due to limited nightlife during the pandemic where the drug is commonly consumed, the EMCDDA said.

Wider distribution area of ​​drugs

The study also found that drugs are now more evenly reported in European cities compared to previous years when more diverse geographic patterns were observed. Cocaine, for example, remains most prominent in Western and Southern European cities, but is increasingly found in Eastern Europe. Methamphetamine, historically concentrated in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, is now found in cities across the continent.

The study said cannabis use was less affected by COVID-19 lockdowns than other drugs. In a report last year, the EMCDDA said cannabis users were stockpiling through the darknet to avoid shortages during lockdowns.

Read more to Reuters (Source, EN)

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