Friday 25 September 2020

Drug use in Amsterdam declines during lockdown, but not in Utrecht or Eindhoven

People queuing in front of a coffeeshop ahead of the announcement. Photo: Dexter

Drugs use in Amsterdam has plummeted since the coronavirus lockdown, but there has been little change in Utrecht and Eindhoven, according to an analysis of waste water in the three cities.

In particular, the drop in use of cocaine and ecstasy has gone down ‘spectacularly’ in the Dutch capital, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.

The figures come from water research institute KWR which surveys the contents of waste water in the three cities in the period March 18 to March 24 every year. In total, the research gives a picture of the drugs use of 1.5 million of the Dutch population of over 17 million.

The government closed all cafes, restaurants and clubs on March 15 and this resulted in a society which was virtually confined at home, researcher Thomas ter Laak told the paper.

‘This gave us a pretty unique situation in which we could measure drugs use without tourism or an active night life,’ he said.

In Amsterdam, the use of ecstasy was down by 50%, amphetamine use fell by a third while cocaine use was down 25%.  However, the use of marijuana in the capital was unchanged.

In Utrecht and Eindhoven, the research showed there was little change in drugs use across the board.

The European drugs monitoring centre EMCDDA is expected to publish the results of its preliminary investigation into the use of drugs during the pandemic later this week.

The Volkskrant said experts expect the drop in usage in Spain to be greater than in the Netherlands because the lockdown there started earlier and people had used up their supplies by the time the tests were carried out.

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