Researchers looking to find a more accurate statistic on drug usage are turning to water contamination to take some of the guesswork out of the equation, and new data put out by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) shows quite an increase in both cocaine and methamphetamines in German wastewater.
The EMCDDA turns to this data collection as a means to weed out some of the half-truths that come out of the more typical surveys relying on users to admit their use. The data also gives researchers a way to track the movement of drug trends as they work their way across borders.
So how much meth and coke is polluting German water supplies?
According to the 2016 EMCDDA report released last week, the city of Dortmund had the tenth highest concentration among the 50 cities included in the study with 420.7 daily milligrams of cocaine per 1,000 people. Munich and Berlin are also home to some large cocaine numbers, reporting 113.8 milligrams and 174.1 respectively, though Berlin numbers are based off of a 2015 study.
Methamphetamine use in western Germany is quite low, but in recent years it has spilled over the borders into eastern Germany from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This migration has put Dresden high on the EMCDDA list, taking fourth place with a daily mean of 136.7 milligrams per 1000 inhabitants.
The numbers can seem alarming, but the concentration isn’t posing any danger to residents in the cities with high use. This data is collected from waste water just before it enters sewage treatment plants, so the contamination will naturally be filtered out before making its way back to public water sources.