Porto is the Portuguese city with the most traces of cocaine in its waste water


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Porto is the Portuguese city with the highest growth of cocaine detected in wastewater, according to a report released today that analyzed 88 European cities, more than half (50) of which show an identical trend.

The fourth edition of the study “Wastewater analysis and Drugs – A European multi-city study”, published by the European group SCORE, in collaboration with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), carried out in 24 countries (23 from the European Union + Turkey), covering 88 cities, including the Portuguese cities of Lisbon, Porto and Almada, detected in analyses of Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) an increased consumption of cocaine, an “increasing trend” since 2016.

Wastewater produced by an estimated 55.6 million people was analyzed between March and May 2023 to detect traces of five illicit stimulant drugs (cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, MDMA/ecstasy and ketamine), as well as cannabis.

Based on the document to which the Lusa news agency had access, EMCDDA scientific analyst João Pedro Matias explained that increases in cocaine consumption were detected in relation to 2022 (from 265.9 to 512.5 mg/1,000 people/day), a similar trend at global level in around two thirds of the analyses.

According to the expert, the results now available point to a continuous increase in detections of this drug in the wastewater of the cities analyzed, a trend that has been observed since the beginning of this type of study in 2011.

Unlike in 2022, the situation with methamphetamines seems to have stabilized, as after an increase that year, the 2023 data shows a decrease in consumption, with no traces of the substance recorded in Porto or Almada.

Porto also showed a slight increase in MDMA/Ecstasy consumption (from 16.6 to 18.6 mg/1000 people/day), while Lisbon (from 121.8 to 33.1 mg/1000 people/day) and Almada (from 23.6 to 13.2 mg/1000 people/day) showed a decrease when compared to 2022.

However, the expert warns, despite the decrease, MDMA/ecstasy consumption in Lisbon remains similar to the European cities with the highest amounts of MDMA detected in wastewater analyses.

With regard to cannabis, the most widely used drug in the European Union, the three Portuguese cities observed had very similar results, but with divergent trends compared to the previous year, with an increase in consumption in Porto (from 64.1 to 98.3 mg/1000 people/day) and decreases in Lisbon (from 129.9 to 113.2 mg/1000 people/day) and Almada (from 134 to 102.6 mg/1000 people/day).

As far as amphetamines are concerned, Portuguese cities do not show significant figures, concludes the expert.

The EMCDDA’s director, Alexis Goosdeel, stresses in the document’s summary that “wastewater analysis now provides an increasingly broad view of the dynamics of drug use and availability and is a powerful tool for increasing preparedness in the face of evolving challenges”.

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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