Barcelona revealed as Europe’s cocaine capital

Barcelona is officially the cocaine capital of Europe as revealed by a new scientific study of the city’s water.

Barcelona revealed as Europe’s cocaine capital
Photo: kzenon/Depositphotos

The Catalan capital came out tops of where cocaine is most used in a  wastewater analysis study of 56 European cities in 19 countries undertaken by sewage analysis centre Score and the EU drugs agency in March 2017. 

The study analyzed daily wastewater samples in the catchment areas of treatment plants over a one-week period, testing the wastewater of 43 million people for traces of four drugs: amphetamine, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy) and methamphetamine (crystal meth).

The results, released by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drugs addiction (Emcdda) on Wednesday, show that cocaine is used most in Barcelona on a daily basis, although it is beaten by Zurich at weekends.

In terms of cocaine usage, the analysis revealed, on average, Barcelona gets through 965.2mg each day for every 1,000 residents.

This is the highest amount since records began in 2011.

In a press release, the Emcdda said cocaine use is highest in western and southern European cities, with data suggesting use of the drug is on an upward trend. However cocaine use in the majority of eastern European cities is very low to negligible.

Photo: Masterlu /<a href="Depositphotos”>Depositphotos

But while in Barcelona, cocaine is the recreational drug of choice, the city also appeared at number 7 on the list for Ecstasy (MDMA).

It was the only Spanish city to rank in the top ten for any of the drugs tested.

Surprisingly, Switzerland had five cities that ranked in the top ten for cocaine use.

The study found that levels of cocaine and ecstasy in wastewater rise sharply at weekends in most cities, while amphetamine use appears to be more evenly distributed throughout the week.

READ ALSO:  'Crush the cocaine finely': Zaragoza sparks row with tips for drug-takers

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Spanish police make ‘biggest ever haul of synthetic drugs’

Spanish police said Friday they had seized a record 827,000 ecstasy tablets as well as other narcotics in what they called "the biggest ever seizure of synthetic drugs" in Spain.

Spanish police make 'biggest ever haul of synthetic drugs'
Police claim the seizure is the biggest in Spanish history. Photo: Guardia Civil and the National Police
In a joint operation, the Guardia Civil and the National Police smashed “the main international criminal organisation behind the production and supply of most of the synthetic drugs in Spain”, they said in a joint statement.
Synthetic drugs are manufactured using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients.
Eleven people were arrested on charges of drug trafficking and belonging to a criminal organisation, including the organisation's Dutch boss.
As well as the ecstasy tabs, police also seized 76 kilos (167 pounds) of speed, 39.5 kilos of crystal meth and 217 litres of liquid amphetamine with which they could have produced 738.5 kilos of speed.
They also impounded almost 400 kilos of hashish and marijuana which they were to have exported to The Netherlands to pay for the purchase of the necessary substances to manufacture the drugs at two labs in Barcelona.
The organisation included traffickers from Spain, The Netherlands, Romania, Colombia and Italy and had bases in Barcelona, the southern city of Malaga and the island of Ibiza, all of which are known for having a vibrant nightlife and many dance clubs.
Although Spain is considered one of the main drug gateways to Europe, seizures of synthetic narcotics are uncommon as most traffickers usually deal in cannabis and cocaine.