Increase in the average content of cocaine samples

In 2022, a total of 976 samples declared as cocaine were handed in for analysis at the Drug Information Center (DIZ) Zurich and at the mobile drug checkings. 872 of these samples were handed in at the stationary Drug Checking Center, 104 at the eleven mobile Drug Checkings. The results published here are not representative of the entire substance market in the city of Zurich.

The detailed 2022 cocaine evaluation can be found in the attached report. These are the main findings from 2022:

  • The trend towards ever higher average active ingredient levels in cocaine is still continuing. This development can be observed throughout Europe and is mainly related to the bumper harvests in the growing countries.
  • A high cocaine content means a greater risk of overdose, especially if this value is not known.
  • The amount of active ingredient in the analyzed samples varies relatively widely, making it extremely difficult to dose cocaine at lower risk without drug checking.
  • Cocaine is a substance with a comparatively high potential for harm and dependence. The fact that a sample does not contain any extenders should in no way be taken to mean that its use is harmless.
  • Despite the high average proportion of active ingredient, around one in four cocaine samples in 2022 also contained a pharmacologically active extender. This indicates an additional health risk.
  • Myths about harmful cocaine extenders (e.g., "rat poison") circulate among many users and, to some extent, also among experts. The extenders detected in the DIZ in recent years have been constant and corresponding fears cannot be confirmed. Extenders are not used to harm the users, but are mainly used to optimize profits. The criteria for the use of extenders are accordingly a low purchase price, availability, similar chemical properties (melting point), similar appearance and effect enhancement (to pretend better quality).

In addition to the cocaine evaluation 2022, a brief summary of the four substances most frequently tested in the DIZ can also be found in the appendix. Further information on MDMA can be found on our website here.


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