Tracing drug use in Dutch cities through sewage

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Researchers have found high levels of drug use in the Netherlands. Drug testers sifted through the raw sewage of 19 European cities, including the Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven.

They discovered that Europeans consume 350 kilos of cocaine every day, while marijuana remains the most popular drug. The Dutch cities showed the highest sewage loads of ecstasy, though the researchers said Utrecht's figures were probably spiked by the dumping of drugs before a police raid on an illicit factory.

The research showed the quantity of drugs being consumed in a city, but there is no way of knowing whether residents or tourists are using the drugs.

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