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Exploring Stockholm’s Drug Scene via Wastewater Analysis

Treading Water in Stockholm’s Drug Scene

Ever wondered about the highs and lows of Stockholm’s drug use? Cultivating a unique approach, Stockholm Water and Waste (SWW) recently shed light on this issue through an unconventional method – analyzing wastewater. Let’s delve into this quirky study that highlights the variety of drugs frequently consumed across different areas of Stockholm.

Making Sense of the Studies

The focus was on tracing drugs like cannabis, amphetamine, cocaine, and Tramadol in wastewater. All water-soluble chemicals, including illicit drugs, leave traces in wastewater. Using such information, SWW extracted data to map drug consumption across the city. The research was carried out at ten points representing distinct geographical and socioeconomic parts of Stockholm.

Did you know?

An increase in drug traces was observed in the wastewater during weekends, suggesting that there are more “weekend warriors” in Stockholm than we might think.

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Cocaine seems to be the party drug of choice, especially in the inner city where usage spikes considerably on weekends. Amphetamines and Cannabis, however, maintain a steady presence throughout the week, seemingly unaffected by the weekend effect.

Put It in Perspective

Breaking down the details, Amphetamine use was found to be comparatively high on Söder Mälarstrand, potentially due to the presence of several addiction clinics in the area. In the Järva area, Cannabis usage was predominant, whereas Cocaine was mostly prevalent in the inner city.


It’s important to remember that these statistics do not necessarily reflect the habits of residents—people tend to move around the city. This is a significant variable that might affect these results.

Curiously, the vast differences in Tramadol usage seemed to be geographical. In the inner city, the numbers were much lower, with the outskirts showing more substantial usage.

Stockholm vs. Other Cities

Interestingly, Stockholm’s drug usage levels are high when compared to other Swedish cities like Sandviken, Söderhamn, Gävle, and Växjö, which have carried out similar wastewater analysis. But how does Stockholm stack up compared to other European cities?

On the European scene, Swedish numbers are comparatively low. However, Amphetamine usage records higher numbers in Sweden – an exception to this pattern.

Fun Fact

The concentration of party drugs Cocaine and Ecstasy were found to be higher in August, possibly due to an influx of tourists or more people celebrating the summer.

Moving Forward

Following these findings, Alexander Ojanne, Stockholm’s social and security council, has called for more follow-up studies to fathom trends over time, ensuring that the budget for these studies is taken care of in 2024.

Well, that’s your quirky insight into Stockholm’s drug use – right from the city’s toilets! So, next time you happen to be in the city, remember everything (including your party habits) leaves a trace, even in the most unexpected places!

Remember – it’s always important to be aware, stay safe, and make choices that impact your life positively!

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