Cocaine In Sewage: London Tops European Drug League Table

London sewers are positively bubbling with cocaine, a drug monitoring body has found.

The research affords Britain's capital the dubious honour of having the highest levels of the drug in sewage in all of Europe - with the average daily concentration in waste water measured at 737mg per 1,000 people in 2014.

Levels of cocaine in London's sewage peaks on a Friday and a Saturday, falling away on Sunday and into Monday.

Levels of cocaine in London's sewage are the highest in Europe

London is even ahead of Amsterdam in the cocaine sewage stakes – though drains in the Dutch city contain greater amounts of cannabis.

The data was provided by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), which also revealed Britain has the highest rate of cocaine use among young adults in Europe.

Around one in 24 (4.2%) people aged between 15 and 34 in the UK admitted taking the drug in the last 12 months, figures for 2013/14 showed.

This was the largest proportion of all countries for which statistics were available.

It is almost 1% above Spain, which was second highest with 3.3% of youngsters taking cocaine in the previous year, and more than double the EU average of 1.9%.

The finding was one of a series of figures showing that the UK has some of the highest rates of drug use in Europe.

The report also showed that:

  • Nearly one in 10 people (9.5%) in the UK aged between 15 and 64 have taken cocaine in their lifetime - the second highest in Europe
  • One in nine (11.1%) have used amphetamines at some point - the highest in Europe. The prevalence in the last year (1.5%) was exceeded by several other countries
  • Close to a 10th (9.3%) of UK adults have taken ecstasy - the highest in Europe.

The proportion of young people who took the party drug in the previous year, 3%, was joint second highest.

Health officials insist the long-term trend for drug use is falling.

Rosanna O'Connor, director of alcohol, drugs and tobacco at Public Health England, said: "Drug use continues to be considerably lower than 10 to 15 years ago and this is particularly true for the more harmful drugs like heroin and crack.

"Public Health England will continue to be vigilant and work with national and local partners to raise awareness of the harms, provide effective prevention as well as drug recovery services for those who need them."

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Pete Doherty

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