Switzerland is also represented: cocaine, speed, cannabis – these are the drug capitals of Europe

Switzerland also represented

Cocaine, speed, cannabis – these are the drug capitals of Europe

For a long time, Zurich was considered Switzerland’s cocaine stronghold before St. Gallen surpassed it in this dubious position. In a European comparison, however, Swiss places can no longer keep up – except for cannabis.

publishedMarch 24, 2023 at 4:47 p.m

No city in Europe smokes more pot than Geneva.

imago images/Peter Schickert

When it comes to cocaine use, the Belgian port city of Antwerp takes first place. According to the study, Zurich is the city with the fifth highest cocaine consumption of the 104 cities examined. The drugs are mainly used on weekends.


Amphetamine, also known as speed, is nowhere more popular than among the population of the two Swedish cities of Gävle and Sandviken. The drug is especially popular in smaller towns.


Most methamphetamine, which is absorbed more quickly and broken down more slowly than speed and is therefore more potent, is used in the Czech city of Ostrava. The Czech Republic is one of the main producers for the European meth market.


According to the study, MDMA is mainly consumed in larger cities – and nowhere more so than in Amsterdam, which is internationally known for its cannabis coffee shops.

imago images/imagebroker

In general, there has been a significant increase in the use of cocaine …

imago images/Panthermedia

… and observed methamphetamine.


  • An analysis of the wastewater from various cities in Europe provides information about the drug consumption of the population.

  • In the west and south, it is mainly cocaine that is consumed, in the north and east the cheaper amphetamine.

  • A Swiss city ranks first for cannabis use.

Drugs have enjoyed popularity in all parts of the world since the dawn of mankind. While the Sumerians consumed opium more than 4000 years ago, there are now so many different drugs that differ in their presentation, potency and effects as probably never before in human history.

The European population is no exception when it comes to consuming certain herbs, powders or pills. A new study by the Score Group and the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction shows this clearly. The experts analyzed the wastewater in 104 different cities in Europe and were able to rank the cities. You can find the top performers per substance in the photo gallery above.

People are using more cocaine and meth

As part of the annual study, toilet waste water is searched for metabolic products of prohibited substances. According to the Score professionals, who have been running annual campaigns since 2011, 2022 saw an increase in cocaine and methamphetamine use. But there are big regional differences, as “Vice” writes.

For example, cocaine is particularly popular in the south and west of Europe, while the cheaper speed, also known as amphetamine, is preferred in the north and east. Most meth is consumed in Central Europe, not far from the Czech Republic. The country is considered one of the main producers for the European meth market.

The Swiss cities lag behind somewhat in the cocaine ranking: According to the study, Antwerp in Belgium consumes the most cocaine in Europe, followed by the Spanish city of Tarragona, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and the Belgian capital Brussels. The city of Zurich takes fifth place. According to another study, even more cocaine is consumed in St. Gallen than in the Zurich canton capital.

Nowhere is more stoned than in Geneva

In contrast to cocaine, whose consumption rises sharply towards the weekend, cannabis consumption is stable throughout the week. The intoxicant was detected in all 104 cities examined – but the experts found the most signs of cannabis in Geneva. A pilot project was recently started in Zurich, where registered people can legally obtain cannabis.

Actually, wastewater analysis was started to monitor the impact of household waste on the environment. Drug use has been measured since 2001.

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