There is growing evidence that drug use is on the rise in the UK, and this is causing widespread concern among experts and officials who fear that the country is in the midst of a drug epidemic. Drugs are becoming easier to get a hold of and, for many, a standard night out will include consuming any drugs that they can get their hands on. Recent research has highlighted that Londoners are consuming more cocaine during the week when compared to residents of other European cities, which has sparked even more concern.

Most Cocaine Usage During Weekdays

Although London residents consume more cocaine during the week, at the weekends, the inhabitants of Antwerp in Belgium take that dubious honour. The study was conducted in March 2016 and analysed the concentration of drugs in the sewage systems of fifty European cities across eighteen countries. The results found that the average cocaine concentration during the week in London’s sewage was 790.5mg per 1,000 people every day. This figure rose to 999.3mg per 1,000 people per day at the weekends while Antwerp’s figure at the weekends was 1,042mg per 1,000 people per day.

Excretion of Drugs

Leon Barron of King’s College explained that the weekend averages cover Friday to Monday, as this would cover the time it takes for these drug abusers to expel the metabolites of the drugs. He added, “If you think about cocaine, the maximum concentration that you will excrete in your urine will take about two hours or so for that to come out. For its metabolites, it’s a bit longer: it’s six hours before they will find their way out of the system, and so there’s a little bit of a lag period for the cocaine because of the metabolism of the drug.  You can still see the cocaine lingering around on the Monday and the Tuesday because we are measuring the metabolites of the drug. You might have taken it on the Sunday or the Saturday, but it’s bleeding through to the Monday. So, the definition of the weekend is a little odd, but it’s because of the time it takes for the body to excrete out the drug once it’s taken.”

Powder Cocaine Use Increasing

Other figures highlighted at the start of 2016 show that the use of powder cocaine has increased among those who live in households with an average income of £50,000 or more in both Wales and England. However, this figure was either decreasing or completely flat for those from households with a lower income. The EU’s European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) were responsible for publishing these results; they said, “Traces of cocaine in wastewater indicate that cocaine use is highest in western and southern European cities, particularly in cities in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. The analysis points to very low to negligible cocaine use in the majority of eastern European cities.”

Help and Support with Addiction

With drug addiction being a growing problem in the UK, we urge you to get in touch with us here at Recovery Lighthouse if you have concerns that you or a loved one may be abusing drugs, especially if you are unsure of what to do next. We can assist when it comes to overcoming addiction and moving into recovery. We want nothing more than for the affected individual to successfully overcome his or her addiction and to move on to lead a happy, sober life afterwards. If you have any further queries or questions about our clinic or the treatments we provide, then do not hesitate to contact us today.


  1.  Londoners ‘take more cocaine on weekdays than other Europeans’ (The Guardian)