Bristol was named the “Cocaine Capital” after a sewage study that had been conducted across Europe.
Benzoylecgonine (BE) is the compound produced when cocaine is broken down in the body. Researchers tested the waters in the sewage of multiple cities to test just how much BE there is in it. After the study, it has been found that Bristol had the highest daily concentration of BE, having the proportion of 969.2mg of BE per 1,000 people in 2018. This is topping the previous year’s result, which stated that the city had 754.7mg per 1,000 people.
Coming in the second place to Bristol is Amsterdam, with 932.4mg. Zurich came in third with 856mg while Antwerp Zuid took the fourth place with 771.8mg. Barcelona completed the top five cities with most BE in the wastewaters with 733.2mg.
Out of all the cities that were examined, Bristol is the only city that participated from the UK. Surprisingly, the city that had held the crown for having the most BE in the previous years’ studies – London – was not included in the list.
One report in the research that European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction also conducted stated that the BE found in the wastewater shows that the use of cocaine is still in its peak in western and southern European cities. Some of these cities are in Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. There were also surges in the results from eastern European cities although they are considered lower as compared to the results in the western and southern European cities.
The report said that there may be three factors that led to these results: One is that there are more people using cocaine. The second is that the same people who have been using cocaine before may have upped their consumption. The third one is that the cocaine may have increased purity that resulted in a higher rate of BE found in the wastewater.
Aside from cocaine, traces of amphetamine, methamphetamine, and MDMA were also found in the wastewaters.