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Sewage exposes Stockholm cocaine use

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 22 Mar 2010, 10:33

Published: 22 Mar 2010 10:33 GMT+01:00

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The tests were taken during a Saturday night in January as part of a television series on cocaine use among Swedes, of whom around 200,000 are reported to have tried the drug.

Sewage water from the inner city and the southern suburbs was tested for traces of cocaine and benzoylecgonine (ecgonine benzoate), which is a bi-product left after the body breaks down the drug.

The samples were sent to Karolinska University Hospital in Solna for analysis.

"The tests show that the equivalent of 10-20 (100mg) doses flows into the water system per hour," Olof Beck at the hospital told the programme.

Cocaine available in Stockholm is known to have been diluted fivefold and so the programme was able to calculate that 3,000 doses were consumed during the evening - 2,000 in the inner-city and 1,000 in the southern suburbs.

The method is one which has been applied in the USA, the UK and Italy, among other countries, but is the first time that it has been used in Sweden.

Story continues below…

"The method is totally reliable," Olof Beck told the Kalla Fakta.

A test conducted in the Norwegian capital Oslo in 2007 showed that 8,000 doses are consumed daily. A previous test on the water of the Po river in northern Italy showed that around 40,000 doses of cocaine were consumed in a catchment area of five million people.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:52 March 22, 2010 by Twiceshy
I wonder how they know whether the method is reliable or not. Have they ever tested it in a big city where they knew exactly how much cocaine was being consumed?
13:52 March 22, 2010 by bezjaj
I know which toilet is used in 90% of the case.. But the police will never come there..in fact i saw them use the bathroom a couple of times..
14:11 March 22, 2010 by LailaC1
Should test people regularly at work. That should help reduce intake!
15:25 March 22, 2010 by peropaco
What next big brother? How about testing the water from the laundry room to see the rate of intercourse per building?
15:45 March 22, 2010 by magudbe
If cocaiane use is that pervalent in Sweden , why is ur gov. hell bent in targeting ethnic swedes for a harmless stimulant in Khat. and I think the same goes for Norway.

I am not totally surprised by the actions of ur gov. but compleletly taken aback by the sheer indifference of ur progressive population in the Nordic in general and more so in Sweden.

Sure u have more freedoms and rights than any where in the planet, and I hoped u spread that love around.
15:45 March 22, 2010 by Beef
Must be lies. There is zero tolarance for drugs here. We have no drug problem.. I thought everyone knew that ;)
15:49 March 22, 2010 by uunbeliever
Do the pushers charge the going tax rate of 25%?
17:15 March 22, 2010 by Puffin
I read the same thing about London last year ..........
19:52 March 22, 2010 by hjoian
is this supposed to surprise the Swedes??
22:54 March 22, 2010 by PonceDeLeon
Now I understand why Ms.Ask would like to drug test all these kids in school. Surely they are the cause of this epidemic. This must be a "purely" Swedish problem, we know that foriegners are not admitted into these clubs. I suggest folks be subjected to urinalysis before admittance and after leaving these dens of sin. Nieghbors should be encouraged to report to the police about each others suspicious behavior as well. Why stop there. If the State can afford to innoculate everyone in Sweden for H1N1, why can't they test everyone for drug use? Then publically post their names so all their work associates, family members, and friends will know whom to shame. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.. Right? Sleep well tonight, my little sheep..
23:58 March 22, 2010 by stoffer
I kind of do not get all the problems with drugs. Alcohol is very potent and dangerous drug and is sold in state owned System Bolaget. Why are other drugs discriminated? Because they are not "sacred by tradition"?

The attitude of politicians towards drugs reminds me a lot the recent case of a gay senator from California. Even though he was a gay, he always voted against gay rights and supported hard policies on gays "because that's what voters wanted".

Politician worldwide going against drugs very often take them themselves. That is an insane hypocrisy.
00:25 March 23, 2010 by jdbpogo

quite right. this country does seem a little crazy like that, but i forgot, this is the land of the fra law. mandatory drug tests? you swedes seem very eager to give away all of your personal privacy at the slightest BOO! of any boogeyman.

and Ms Ask, LOL! the fra and ipred laws (i remember her pushing so hard for both) seem to me to be somebody else's fight (namely the U.S.). why would swedes let all of there communications be monitored? is the anti-sweden terrorists coalition that large? do you all live in fear of it? no, the reason is that the U.S. wants to listen, as much of russia's data traffic runs thru the swedish backbone. my question is who's dog is she? not yours!

then she opens her mouth and expounds the notion that it would be a good idea to publicly humiliate people who haven't been convicted of a crime. maybe she isn't America's dog after all. maybe she's just very simple and confused old lady... but she's still your minister of justice, and that's scarier than any terrorist.
13:00 March 23, 2010 by eZee.se

++1 to you mate.
18:01 March 23, 2010 by StuartM
Sweden's not as liberal as many people seem to think which isn't, as far as I see it, necessarily always such a bad thing. The fairly tough policy on alcohol has ensured that Sweden has among the lowest per capita alcohol consumption in Europe - which means less deaths and less social breakdown. As for drugs I think it might be better to regulate and control some of the less harmful ones in a similar way to how alcohol is dealt with. It doesn't make any sense to penalise young people for possessing small amounts of cannabis. Those individuals who peddle hard drugs though should be treated with nothing but contempt and meet the full force of the law.
17:00 March 24, 2010 by MyFire
so how much of these chemicals r we absorbing from the drinking water??

I think there is alot of truth 'we' (the people) dont really know about the entire DRUG TRADE/ INDUSTRY. Just think of how much revenue (power..?) that it generates.

Just think....

C ocaine

I nfiltrating

A gency

Look up the investigations into the agency since the 80's from the Contra War.

(and they dont answer to...anyone! Not even the president.)

But 'they' just exist in the US.....right?...
18:37 March 24, 2010 by J Jack
if it's diluted 5x then it must be Coke Light. 3000 doses of 80% something else.
07:58 March 25, 2010 by wabasha
3000 does not sound so bad. and thats not 3000 people, thats doses. snus addiction is likely causing more medical problems here in sweden!
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