September 17, 2021

Londoners are taking more cocaine every day than Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin combined


  • Tests by forensic scientists at King College London revealed the findings 
  • It showed that Londoners consume 23kg of the Class A drug every single day 
  • Was estimated that the UK’s capital is worth an estimated £1 billion a year 

By Terri-ann Williams For Mailonline

Published: 11:04 EDT, 10 October 2019 | Updated: 12:12 EDT, 10 October 2019

Londoners are taking more cocaine that Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin combined, it has been revealed.

The cocaine market in the UK’s capital is worth an estimated £1 billion a year and those who live in London are taking more of the drug than other major European cities on a daily basis. 

Tests by forensic scientists at King’s College London University revealed that Londoners consumer 23kg of the Class A drug every day.

The scientists looked at waste water in the capital and tested it for the compound produced when the body breaks down cocaine, known as benzoylecgonine (BE).

The picture above is a mock up picture of cocaine use. King College University London revealed the new findings related to cocaine use

The findings show that London’s cocaine equates to more than eight tons (an aerial view of London at night)

While the average daily amount in London was 23kg, Barcelona had 12.7kg, Amsterdam had 4.6kg, while Berlin also had the same. 

The findings show that London’s cocaine equates to more than eight tons. 

Speaking to Sky News today, Dr Leon Barron, forensic scientist at King’s College London said that researchers found there was a sustained use throughout the working week, and a slight rise at the weekends. 

He added: ‘That is in contrast to other cities where you see a very marked recreational use at the weekend, and so cocaine is an everyday drug in London.’ 

The figures produced do not include the other items which the Class A drug is frequently cut with, and relates solely to pure cocaine. 

How dangerous is cocaine?

Deaths from cocaine in England and Wales have more than doubled in the past four years according to the Office for National Statistics – with 371 cocaine related deaths in 2016, compared to just 139 in 2012.

In 2016-17, 12,000 people were admitted to hospital with cocaine related disorders, but in 2007-08 this number was just 5,148.

 The purity of the the drug on the streets, which has hit around 54 per cent, is the highest found in decades.

Although some believe purer cocaine is safer, the opposite is true as bulking agents used such as benzocaine are far less dangerous than cocaine. 

Bristol was the other UK city to be included in the test and results showed that the city had more users of cocaine per head of population. 

Tests showed it came out highest of the other 75 European cities which were tested.  

Kings College completed the tests in sewers in London, while tests on other European cities were carried out by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

Also speaking to Sky News former head of drugs threat at the National Crime Agency, Tom Saggers said: ‘I would say London has got to the point of saturation.

‘The demand has gone up, the price has stayed stable, people are able to lay their hands on it freely, readily… but I would say, yeah, the other cities are catching up.’ 

Previous figures show that cocaine consumption in the capital declined between 2011 and 2015. 

This suggests the market is facing saturation and could be why many deals are turning to so-called county-lines programmes in order to continue receiving income from selling the drug. 

It comes just months after MPs were embroiled in a row over the use of the drug. 

Kings College completed the tests in sewers in London (someone holding a bag of white powder, above)

In June a YouGov poll revealed that more than half of the UK public felt that the admission of previously taking cocaine, should disqualify you from being an MP. 

The poll also showed that 67 percent of Conservative voters thought it was unacceptable, compared to 48 percent of Labour voters and 53 percent of Lib Dems. 

Last year London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that London’s ‘middle class’ cocaine usage had been contributing to gang violence in the city.

He also told LBC that was ‘a definite link’ between the consumption of the Class A drug by the ‘middle classes,’ and the rise in criminal gang violence.

MailOnline has contacted the London Mayor’s office regarding the recent study by King’s College. 


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