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Cocaine consumption booms in Porto

Photo by Mishal Ibrahim on Unsplash

Porto is among the 49 cities where cocaine consumption has grown the most, according to the European Drug Report 2023. Analyses of wastewater from 88 cities in 23 European Union (EU) countries and Turkey confirm a trend that is not new: recreational cocaine use is widespread on the European continent.

The increased accessibility of cocaine, along with its greater potency and purity, has led to its consumption on the rise. And Portugal is no exception.

In this study, conducted by the SCORE group in collaboration with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), daily water samples collected at treatment plants in three Portuguese cities — Porto, Almada, and Lisbon — were analyzed. In the first case, there was nearly a doubling of the amount of cocaine identified in the analyses conducted over a week between March and May 2023, compared to those conducted in the previous year.

The results of the analyses conducted in Lisbon and Almada regarding the presence of cocaine were not considered comparable and therefore were not validated.

The three cities in Europe with the highest consumption of cocaine, always on weekends, were Antwerp, Tarragona, and Amsterdam.

It is possible to conclude that the habit of consuming cocaine is becoming a European pattern, without significant differences between Northern and Southern countries, and even between cities within the same country, as in previous years. Or even between continents.


Lisbon is in the top 15 for cannabis use

Drug consumption in Lisbon has stabilized, with decreases noted in some substances. The use of cannabis remained unchanged in 2023, but the city is among the top 15 with the highest amount of that substance identified in wastewater analysis, which is relevant considering the analysis was conducted in 88 cities across 23 EU countries and Turkey. In addition to this stabilization in cannabis consumption, there is a decrease in MDMA usage to highlight.

On the other hand, the analyses indicate a decrease in all substances in Almada. In Porto, the third Portuguese city included in this large sample, cocaine and cannabis consumption increased, primarily, but also MDMA.

The highest cannabis use in the EU was recorded in cities in Western and Southern Europe, notably in the Netherlands, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia.

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