London is the cocaine capital of Europe: City has highest concentration of the drug in its waste water, according to report
- Scientists found sewage in London had highest concentration of cocaine
- It was surveyed along with a number of other major European cities
- The amount peaks on Friday and Saturday and falls off on a Sunday
- The class A drug is passed into the sewage network in the urine of users
Scientists found sewage in London contained more traces of cocaine than any other European city surveyed
London is the cocaine capital of Europe, with the highest concentration of the drug in its waste water, a report revealed yesterday.
Scientists found sewage in the city contained more traces of the class A drug than anywhere else surveyed. It is passed into the network in the urine of users.
The amount peaks on Friday and Saturday, sampling by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction showed.
Then it falls off as the drug-using population recovers on a Sunday, and continues to go down as they return to work on Monday.
The research found levels in London slightly higher than those in Amsterdam, with 737 mg for every 1,000 people in the British capital compared to 716 mg in the Dutch city. The next city in the league was Antwerp in Belgium, at 632 mg.
The report said: ‘Many cocaine users consume the drug recreationally with use highest during weekends and holidays.’
It added that waste water analysis ‘confirms daily differences in use. Higher concentrations were found at the weekend’.
The report said Britain continues to have the highest rate of cocaine use among young adults in Europe.
Around one in 24 people aged between 15 and 34 in the UK admitted taking the drug in the last 12 months.
The 4.2 per cent level in this country was almost a point higher than that in Spain, which was second highest with 3.3 per cent of youngsters taking cocaine in the previous year, and more than double the EU average of 1.9 per cent.
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 in Britain aged between 15 and 64 have taken cocaine in their lifetime – the second highest in Europe.
One in nine have used amphetamines at some point – the highest in Europe, and nearly one in 10 British adults have taken ecstasy, again the highest level in Europe.
The amount found in sewage in London (pictured) peaks on Friday and Saturday, sampling by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction showed. Then it falls off on a Sunday
The proportion of young people who took the drug in the previous year, three per cent, was joint second highest.
Health officials pointed to evidence that levels of drug abuse in Britain are 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.’
Corridors of powder: Drug scandal at the Houses of Parliament after traces of cocaine are found on toilets across Palace of Westminster
- Evidence of class A drug use detected in UK’s seat of power
- Chemical swabs found substance on toilet seats and hair dryers
- Drug was also found in toilets close to MPs’ offices, away from public areas
Evidence of cocaine use has been found inside toilets at the Houses of Parliament, including some just yards from MPs’ offices.
Traces of the class A drug were found in nine toilets throughout the Palace Of Westminster, the meeting place of the UK’s political elite.
The powder was detected in toilets used by guests at Parliament’s bars, as well as cubicles a few yards away from MPs’ offices – areas where members of the public are restricted from going.
Not to be sniffed at: Evidence of cocaine use has been uncovered at the Houses of Parliament
Charlie: Possession of cocaine can get you up to seven years in jail. File picture
The drug use was uncovered using cocaine indicator swabs, which come up with blue blotches when rubbed on surfaces where the drug has been laid out in lines, such as toilet seats and hairdryers. The swabs are used by the police and customs officers.
As Parliament’s toilets are cleaned regularly, the white powder must have been snorted in the past few hours, according to reporters from The Sun, who did the testing.
Users would have to smuggle the drug past extensive security checks and 500 police officers and guards.
The reporters, acting on a tip-off from a House of Commons insider, claim to have found evidence of the drug in the cubicles of the toilets outside Strangers’ Bar and in private areas close to MPs’ offices.
High office: The cocaine use was uncovered using test kits, similar to the one pictured
Tory MP Douglas Carswell was scathing about the find.
He said: ‘With decadence comes something rotten. It suggests there is something rotten about the institution itself.’
On two occasions cannabis has been confiscated at Westminster’s entry checkpoints since the start of 2008, according to a Freedom of Information request.
A Parliamentary spokesman said: ‘Parliament is a public place and we welcome over a million visitors a year who have either direct access to these facilities or access when accompanied.
‘Clearly, it is inappropriate to monitor what happens in toilet facilities. In addition, we have issued over 14,000 passes, held by contractors and other third parties, as well as staff of both Houses, Members and their staff.
‘Consequently, it is impossible to know who may be involved. Our security searches are focussed on preventing harm to others and the building, not the detection of small amounts of drugs.
‘Parliament takes the issue of substance misuse very seriously and offers a range of welfare and health support services for those who need them.’
A few days ago a Parliamentary watchdog said MPs should have an 11 per cent pay rise to £74,000 a year.
In 2005 a German television station found traces of cocaine in 41 of 46 lavatories tested at the European Parliament in Brussels.
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