It's official! Romania has transformed from a country of transit to a country of drug consumption

In Bucharest, drug consumption is similar to that in large European cities. This is shown by an analysis of waste water carried out annually by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction in more than 100 European cities. The drug most used by Romanians is ketamine, while on weekends the consumption of cocaine and ecstasy increases.

Ketamine, the drug most used by Romanians – Photo Shutterstock

In Bucharest, three times more ketamine is consumed weekly than the European average: 10 mg/day/1000 inhabitants compared to 3.21 mg/day/1000 inhabitants in other European cities. At least that's what an analysis of waste water that is carried out annually by the European Observatory on Drugs and Drug Addiction in more than 100 European cities shows. Representatives of the National Antidrug Agency (ANA) sent samples from the Glina treatment plant, collected at the same time, for a week. Five types of banned substances were analyzed.

On this occasion, it was also found that in our country the consumption of cocaine and methamphetamine is slightly lower than in the rest of Europe, cocaine – 165 mg/day/1000 inhabitants compared to 219.65mg/day/1000 inhabitants in other European cities and MDMA-media weekly 11 mg/day/1000 inhabitants Bucharest versus 11.36 mg/day/1000 inhabitants European cities. However, on weekends the use of cocaine and ecstasy increases.

During the weekend, higher values ​​were observed regarding the consumption of cocaine and ecstasy, which means that it is used recreationally”, said Ramona Dabija, director of ANA.

Practically, the analysis of the wastewater suggests that there is a greater consumption of narcotics in Romania than previously thought.

The fact that we have additional measurements is a strong argument that in Romania drugs are starting to be consumed more and more. For many years I said that Romania is a country of transit, now it is one of consumption. In recent years we somehow thought relaxed that only marijuana is consumed, here the truth shows that a lot of ectasy, ketamine and cocaine are consumed”, explained the psychologist Mihai Copăceanu for “truth“.

For his part, the toxicologist Radu Țincu, head of the toxicology discipline at the Carol Davila University of Medicine, believes that we are dealing with a “undersizing the phenomenon“, under the conditions of an increase in consumption: “I believe that more than one out of ten Romanians has consumed, only that all these studies are done through interviews, and people may not admit to using drugs for fear of criminal sanctions, but also because of stigmatization“.

Weekend fun

Why is more cocaine and ecstasy used on weekends? “The effects of these substances are closely associated with free time, with relaxation, fun, clubbing, everything that means spending free timer”, says psychologist Mihai Copăceanu.

Many young people cannot have fun without the help of psychoactive substances, and the consequences are disastrous in the long run. Doctor Radu Țincu also explained what the health risks are. “The dangers are given by the fact that they are stimulants, first of all they will artificially activate the brain and cardiovascular activity. In overdoses, they can cause states of agitation with epileptic seizures, they can mimic symptoms of acute myocardial infarction, and in the medium term they are addictive”, said the ATI primary doctor at the Floreasca Emergency Clinical Hospital.

Ketamine – the drug that numbs you

Ketamine is an anesthetic used in human and veterinary medicine, and recent studies have shown it to be effective in combating depression. However, the risks of using this substance are high. As a drug, ketamine has a hallucinogenic effect and experts say it is mostly used in combination with other drugs. And “pink cocaine”which reached the market in our country, contains ketamine, in addition to MDMA and pink dye.

Ketamine produces a dissociative anesthesia, that is, the person in question retains his state of consciousness, but no longer feels the pain, therefore it is very dangerous to use this substance because, in many cases, those people can harm themselves without actually realizing the risks involved expose, because they do not perceive the pain. Ketamine is not frequently used as a recreational drug as such, but mostly used in combinations: the most used was spraying cannabis leaves with marijuana, but it has also been used in combination with other recreational drugs”, said toxicologist Radu Țincu.

The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction warned that ketamine has been consistently available on national drug markets in recent years. It can be inhaled and sometimes even injected. Ketamine use can cause severe addiction. The substance is unpredictable and can lead to loss of physical control when the dose is high. It can also cause death. The most recent case is that of actor Matthew Perry, whose accidental death was caused by this substance. The high dose of ketamine caused the actor to lose consciousness and sink into the hot tub.

The fact that there is an increased level of ketamine during the week shows that we are not only talking about people who use on the weekend, in the way of getting a good feeling in a social and fun way, but we can talk about people who are addicted. Most of the time it is consumed in combination with other types of drugs. The category of young adults is the most at risk, with some of them saying that ketamine, for example, has the same effect on them as alcohol. I think there are additional reasons to realize that we need therapy and treatment services for people who binge drink and are at risk of developing addiction.“, added Mihai Copăceanu.

Moreover, many can consume ketamine without being aware of its presence, warns doctor Radu Țincu.

A lot of times they don't use it, they can get it, because it can be used by traffickers to increase the strength of some drugs, and those drugs come with ketamine, and those who use it may not know that, for example , the marijuana they consume also contains ketamine. People may buy marijuana thinking that it is a natural substance and that it does not have that much toxicity, but they have no way of knowing if the person selling it has not contaminated it with other synthetic substances such as ketamine or other types of synthetic drugs”, Radu Țincu sent.

Incidentally, this substance “it is cheap and can be produced in chemical laboratories easily, which for drug manufacturers is a convenience“, the doctor also said.

Information and awareness campaigns must be carried out regarding the risk of using drugs. I think there is a need for education programs to be carried out in the public space and at the level of schools, to inform young people at risk of these risks”, concludes Radu Țincu.

Analysis of waste water to detect drug use

Daily consumption

Cocaine-daily average

176 mg/ day/ 1000 inhabitants- Bucharest

257.34 mg/ day/ 1000 inhabitants-European cities

MDMA-average daily

15 mg/ day/ 1000 inhabitants- Bucharest

17.44 mg/ day/ 1000 inhabitants-European cities

Ketamine-daily average

9 mg/ day/ 1000 inhabitants- Bucharest

10.95 mg/ day/ 1000 inhabitants-European cities

Weekly consumption

Cocaine-weekly average

165 mg/day/1000 inhabitants-Bucharest

219.65mg/ day/ 1000 inhabitants-European cities

MDMA-weekly average

11 mg/day/1000 inhabitants – Bucharest

11.36 mg/ day/ 1000 inhabitants-European cities

Ketamine-weekly average

10 mg/day/1000 inhabitants-Bucharest

3.21 mg/ day/ 1000 inhabitants-European cities