Share article:
Share article:

Less cocaine, more MDMA found in Antwerp waste water

© Marco Verch/Flickr Commons
© Marco Verch/Flickr Commons

For the second year in a row, the amount of cocaine consumed in Antwerp has gone down, according to toxicological tests carried out on waste water. The tests are carried out each year at the water treatment station covering the centre of the city, Hoboken and part of Wilrijk, a population of around 13,000. The results reveal the amount of cocaine and other substances released into the water by people in Antwerp, either from body fluids or other means.

In 2018 the level continued its decline from 2017, to 771.8mg per day per 1,000 residents, down from 822mg in 2017 and 994mg in the peak year 2016. That’s substantially higher than Brussels (422.5mg) and Paris (525mg), but also substantially lower than Zurich (856mg), Amsterdam (932.4mg) and Bristol (969.2mg).

The levels of amphetamines in the water remains the highest in Antwerp of all the European cities tested. More surprisingly was the high level of MDMA, known as ecstasy or xtc, found in Antwerp. According to the tests, the levels of MDMA last year shot up from 95.3mh per day per 1,000 residents in 2017 to a massive 1,342mg in 2018. If accurate, that would mean people in Antwerp consumed more ecstasy than the rest of Belgium combined.

The researchers offered a simple explanation. “There are indications that the increase comes from the dumping of xtc pills, and not simply from human use. Just a few dozen pills would be enough,” explained Alexander van Nuijs of the toxicological centre at the university of Antwerp. The likelihood is that a dealer dumped their stock of pills into the water during the period when measurements were being taken, he said.

Meanwhile in Ghent harbour last week, a major shipment of cocaine weighing 1.375 tonnes was found hidden in sports bags aboard a cargo ship carrying fruit juice from Brazil. Police and customs made the discovery partly thanks to information from the Brazilian authorities. The drugs, worth an estimated 75 million euros on the street, have already been destroyed. No arrests have yet been made, and the investigation continues.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

25 years ago today: 300,000 people marched in white against child abuse
On this day 25 years ago, over 300,000 people marched in Brussels to demand a more effective justice system and to support the families of Julie, ...
Windy weather forecast should lower gas prices
After weeks of relatively calm conditions, a return to windy weather should lower Europe's soaring energy prices. Wind turbines in the UK and Germany ...
EC calls on candidate countries to focus on fundamental reforms before they can join the EU
The Commission adopted yesterday its 2021 Enlargement Package, providing a detailed assessment of the state of play and the progress made by the ...
Cigarette-eating robot patrols Ghent streets to fight littering
A litter fighting (and eating) robot will be patrolling the streets of Ghent in the coming weeks in an effort to raise awareness of the growing ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...
Brussels Airport becomes shareholder in SkeyDrone
The Brussels Airport company has signed an agreement to become a 50 percent shareholder in SkeyDrone, a subsidiary of skeyes, the Belgian Air ...
Two former Belgian top executives plead guilty to bid manipulation in the US
Two former Belgian top executives of the security company G4S have pleaded guilty in the US to bid rigging, according to reporting from De Tijd. ...
8 arrested in Belgium and Luxembourg for fraud and social dumping
On Tuesday, around 80 police investigators and 26 social investigators made a series of simultaneous arrests in Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg as part ...
More than 5,500 people took part in the citizens’ consultation on road safety
Over 5,500 people took part in a citizens’ consultation on road safety for Belgium between July and October, according to Belga News Agency. The ...
Coronavirus: Nearly 1,000 patients hospitalised, 80 admissions a day on average
Between October 10 and 16, an average of 3,151 people were infected with Covid-19 every day, according to figures from the Sciensano Public Health ...
‘More concern and false impressions’: colds are not worse than before, experts say
While it seems like cold viruses are hitting especially hard this autumn, with more severe and longer-lasting symptoms, doctors are saying that this ...
More women take police selection tests in Belgium
The selection tests to become a police inspector have more and more female participants, according to figures released by Interior Affairs Minister ...