Cocaine use in London has dropped by a massive 30% in four years, research suggests.
Analysis of the capital’s sewer system indicates a huge drop in consumption in the city, previously dubbed the “cocaine capital of Europe”.
Scientists looked at the amount of benzoylecgonine – a compound produced when the body breaks down the drug – in London’s waste water last April.
They found there was a 31% fall compared to 2016, according to the European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction data.
Several factors are thought to potentially be behind the decrease , including youngsters in London increasingly using other substances like psychedelics.
The amount of cocaine seized in England and Wales last year tripled to almost 10 tonnes.
Much of it would have been destined for London, the Guardian reported.
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Wholesale prices for the class A drug are also said to have risen in the capital over the last 18 months.
And it could also be down to reductions in the drug’s purity.
Dr Leon Barron, a forensic science lecturer from King's College London who led the study, said tests at other times could have found different results.
He added: “More regular monitoring in London and ideally across several locations is required to build up a more accurate national picture before we can conclude that cocaine use has actually dropped in the UK.”
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Lawrence Gibbons, at the National Crime Agency – known as Britain’s FBI – said: "We estimate that demand for all common drug types, including cocaine, remains steady."
Steve Rolles, from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, said: “Wastewater analysis doesn't distinguish between powder and crack cocaine, making it especially difficult to identify what is driving any change.
"The use of cocaine and other stimulants is rising across the whole of Europe, which clearly shows a failure of the current enforcement approach."
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