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6 The Portugal News •  23 Mar 2019                                 News


      Cocaine use rises in Portugal                                                               Cannabis continues to be the most popular
                                                                                                  drug in Portugal but consumption of cocaine
                                                                                                  and MDMA is rising.

                                                                                                        wastewater treatment plant,  European cities, but the
                                                                                                        scientists can now estimate  most recent data shows
                                                                                                        the quantity of drugs used in  signs of increases.
                                                                                                        a community by measuring  The  data also shows that
                                                                                                        the levels of illicit drugs and  most cities reported an
                                                                                                        their metabolites excreted  increase in amphetamine
                                                                                                        in urine.               residues, while data from
                                                                                                        The SCORE group has     the previous seven
                                                                                                        been conducting annual  monitoring campaigns
                                                                                                        wastewater monitoring   showed no major changes
                                                                                                        campaigns since 2011.   in patterns observed. The
                                                                                                        A total of 33 cities have  loads of amphetamine
                                                                                                        participated in five or more  detected in wastewater
                                                                                                        of the eight campaigns run  varied considerably across
                                                                                                        so far, which allows for  the study locations, with the
                                                                                                        time-trend analysis of drug  highest levels reported in
                                                                                                        consumption based on    cities in the north and east
                                                                                                        wastewater testing.     of Europe. Amphetamine
                                                                                                        In cities with wastewater  was found at much lower
                                                                                                        data for 2017 and 2018, the  levels in cities in the south
                                                                                                        latest figures reveal   of Europe.
                                                                                            Cocaine use
                                                                                            Cocaine use  increases in traces of  The 2018 data point to
                                                                                            Cocaine use
                                                                                            Cocaine use
                                                                                            Cocaine use
                                                                                            showed a
                                                                                            showed a    cocaine, confirming the  increased traces of MDMA
                                                                                            showed a
                                                                                            showed a
                                                                                            showed a
                                                                                            strong
                                                                                            strong
                                                                                            strong
                                                                                            strong
                                                                                            strong
                                                                                            increase in
                                                                                            increase in  upward trend reported in  in most cities, compared
                                                                                            increase in
                                                                                            increase in
                                                                                            increase in
                                                                                            Portugal in
                                                                                            Portugal in  2017. Cocaine residues in  with a stabilising trend in
                                                                                            Portugal in
                                                                                            Portugal in
                                                                                            Portugal in
                                                                                            the past
                                                                                            the past    wastewater were highest in  2017. When weekly
                                                                                            the past
                                                                                            the past
                                                                                            the past
                                                                                            year.       western and southern    patterns of drug use were
                                                                                            year.
                                                                                            year.
                                                                                            year.
                                                                                            year.
                                                                                            (Photo:
                                                                                            (Photo:     European cities,        examined, cocaine and
                                                                                            (Photo:
                                                                                            (Photo:
                                                                                            (Photo:
                                                                                            Lusa)
                                                                                            Lusa)
                                                                                            Lusa)       particularly in cities in  MDMA (ecstasy) levels
                                                                                            Lusa)
                                                                                            Lusa)
                                                                                                        Belgium, the Netherlands,  rose sharply at weekends
              he European      In Portugal, samples were  weekdays. However, the  Madrid, the study analysed  Spain and the UK.  in most cities.
             Monitoring Centre  taken in Lisbon, Porto and  consumption of cigarettes  daily wastewater samples  The analysis points to very  Methamphetamine loads
             for Drugs and     Almada. In all of the   and alcohol was below the  in the catchment areas of  low levels of cocaine use in  were found to be evenly
      TDrug Addiction          locations, the presence of  EU average.          wastewater treatment    the majority of eastern  distributed over the week.
      came to its findings by testing  these substances in the  The latest findings from the  plants over a one-week
      levels of illicit substances  water was higher on the  largest European project in  period. Wastewater from
      found in wastewater.     weekends than on        the emerging science of  approximately 46 million  Netlfix releases
                                                       wastewater analysis,     people was analysed for
                                                       verified samples in 73   traces of four illicit drugs:
                                                       European cities in 20    amphetamine, cocaine,   Madeleine documentary
                                                       European countries in    MDMA (ecstasy) and
                                                       March 2018 to explore the  methamphetamine.      A Netflix documentary about Madeleine
                                                                                                        A Netflix documentary about Madeleine
                                                                                                        A Netflix documentary about Madeleine
                                                                                                        A Netflix documentary about Madeleine
                                                                                                        A Netflix documentary about Madeleine
                                                       drug-taking behaviours of  Wastewater based
                                                                                                        McCann was released last Friday.
                                                                                                        McCann was released last Friday.
                                                                                                        McCann was released last Friday.
                                                                                                        McCann was released last Friday.
                                                       their inhabitants.       epidemiology is a rapidly  McCann was released last Friday.
                                                       The 2018 study points to an  developing scientific  Kate and Gerry McCann, have previously criticised the
                                                       increase in the detection of  discipline with the potential  programme, saying it “could potentially hinder” the
                                                       amphetamine, cocaine     for monitoring close to real-  search for their daughter. Madeleine vanished from Praia
                                                       and MDMA in wastewater   time, population-level  da Luz in May 2007, while on holiday with her family.
                                                       samples, compared to the  trends in illicit drug use. By  Netflix said the series had access to “never-before-
                                                       2017 figures.            sampling a known source  heard testimonies, including friends of the McCann
                                                       From Lisbon to Athens and  of wastewater, such as a  family, investigators working the case and from those who
                                                       from Copenhagen to       sewage influent to a    became the subject of media speculation and rumour”.
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