22 Mar, 2023 @ 17:45
1 min read

Spain has some of the highest traces of recreational drugs in its wastewater


Spain is one of the European countries with the most traces of cannabis, cocaine, ketamine and MDMA in its wastewater, according to a study carried out in 104 European cities. 

The report published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction took water samples from various cities and some 54 million people to test for traces of five drugs including amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and methamphetamine. 

The results reveal increased detections of cocaine across most cities, a trend observed since 2016 with some fluctuation during pandemic years. Spain ranked as one of the top countries in the EU for the presence of cocaine in wastewater, alongside Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands.

The Iberian peninsula also came in the top 5 countries for the presence of cannabis, ketamine and MDMA. 

For the remaining drugs in the study, the picture is ‘mixed’, although they were detected in all participating Spanish cities. In particular methamphetamine, which was traditionally concentrated in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, has now made a relevant appearance in Spain. 

For the director of the EMCDDA, Alexis Goosdeel, the study “paints a picture of a drug problem that is as widespread as it is complex”.


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