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Will Godfrey Will Godfrey

Which European Cities Have the Druggiest Sewage?

12 Substance

Numéro Trois for marijuana consumption? Photo via

Numéro Trois for marijuana consumption? Photo via

There’s being dedicated to your job, and then there’s trawling through city-specific European sewage samples, like scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology have been doing. They were measuring quantities of the excretions resulting from the consumption of various illegal drugs, in order to shed light on the habits of 42 European cities—effectively giving the continent a giant drug test. The results were published in the Addiction journal.

Obviously, Amsterdam came top for levels of weed consumption…except it didn’t. It was beaten into second place by Serbia’s second-largest city, Novi Sad, while Paris took the bronze.

But Amsterdam was near the top for every other drug measured except meth, and its sewage samples indicated the second highest level of ecstasy consumption. The Netherlands has long been a major ecstasy producer and Dutch cities dominated the MDMA charts.

Fans of Breaking Bad will be unsurprised that Prague seemingly has the highest level of meth use in Europe—followed by other cities in the Czech Republic, plus locations in Slovakia and Germany.

As for cocaine, the top few cities included London and Zürich—both places with more than their fair share of bankers. London’s level is almost double that of any other major European city. Perhaps more surprisingly, cocaine use in the British capital apparently peaks on Tuesdays—where do you go from there?

The researchers hope that their unsavory method of monitoring drug use will be developed to provide more accurate information than surveys. Because unlike survey respondents, sewage doesn’t lie.