Utrecht and Eindhoven party hard in the pandemic, but Amsterdam drug use dives

Turns out coronavirus is a real party-pooper — judging by the remnants of drug use in sewers, at least. Water research institute KWR says that the use of cocaine and ecstasy in Amsterdam declined spectacularly since the lockdown. 

We’re speculating that there could be a direct correlation between drug use and the number of British stag parties in the Dutch capital. Compared to the year prior, drug use in Amsterdam halved. Cocaine use also fell by a quarter. A global pandemic wasn’t enough to stop partiers in Utrecht and Eindhoven, however. Drug use in these areas remained largely unchanged, reports de Volkskrant.

The annual KWR study measures an indication of the drug use of 1.5 million people in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven, and smaller municipalities in Eindhoven. This year, the study coincidentally took place in the first week of lockdown. “This created the unique situation where we could measure the drug use of the population in the absence of an active nightlife and of tourists,” explains KWR researcher Thomas ter Laak.

Who stopped the party?

Coronavirus stopped the party! Well, the coronavirus lockdown stopped tourists coming to Amsterdam, says drug researcher Laura Smit-Rigter of the Trimbos Institute. ‘But the closure of clubs and cafes where many Dutch people come is also a cause. People hardly went out,” she explains.

However, Smit-Rigter believes that the lack of use may diminish soon as people begin to organize parties in smaller settings. This could also be why the use of coke and ecstasy in Utrecht remained stable during the lockdown.

What about weed?

If anything has remained normal, it’s smoking weed in the Netherlands. The sewer research shows that this use remained stable, probably because coffee shops were allowed to remain open. #NeverForget the lines outside the coffee shops when the government announced that nearly 600 coffee shops would close for the duration for the lockdown. #AlsoNeverForget that the government backed down on that after just one day, allowing coffee shops to reopen for takeaway only.

Are you surprised by the results of the tests? Tell us in the comments below!

Image: Maurício Mascaro/Pexels

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.

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