From Iceland — Many Drugs Found In Reykjavík Sewers

Many Drugs Found In Reykjavík Sewers

Published January 16, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
SuSanA Secretariat/Wikimedia Commons

Cocaine, marijuana and amphetamines are amongst the numerous drugs that can be found in the sewer water under Reykjavík.

The results were a part of doctorate research conducted by Arndís Sue Ching Löve at the University of Iceland, Kjarninn reports, who initially just wanted to see if it was possible to detect the presence of drugs in the city sewer water. Icelanders use far more water than other Europeans on average; up to three times more.

Samples were taken from sewer water over a 7-day period from the Klettagarðar sewage treatment facility, where about half of Reykjavík households empty out their sewage, including downtown. The location was chosen deliberately, as Arndís factored in that a considerable amount of drugs are taken in downtown clubs.

Over a single one-week period, Arndís detected significant levels of amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, THC and methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Ritalin, in Reykjavík sewer water. Levels of cocaine and MDMA rose higher over the weekends, while THC, amphetamine and cocaine were present in the greatest concentrations of all these drugs every day of the week.

While these results are revealing, Arndís stresses the importance of taking more samples, and to do so during different times of the year, in order to get a clearer picture of drug use in Reykjavík.

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