How much drugs use people during a pandemic? The answer lies in the wastewater…

The coronavirus pandemic has affected club drug use, which has declined in a number of monitored sites in Europe. However, it seems to have no significant effect on marijuana use When Europe was hit by a coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020, it affected virtually every aspect of life. Drug use was no exception, although information on these activities is harder to find than in other cases. Wastewater analyzes are very useful in this regard, which reveals not only what drugs are used in a given area, but also in what amounts.
The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) recently carried out such an analysis in 82 European cities. Experts analyzed wastewater samples taken between March and May 2020, ie during the initial phase of the pandemic. They focused on the detection of MDMA, amphetamines, methamphetamine and metabolites of cocaine and marijuana.
These analyzes have been going on for ten years now, so it is possible to monitor trends in drug use, and now also how the pandemic affected them. MDMA or ecstasy is often used as a “club” drug. It was therefore no surprise that the amount of ecstasy used decreased in about half of the monitored sites. However, even the pandemic did not change the fact that the Netherlands remains a champion in ecstasy consumption.