Further increase in the average content of cocaine samples

In 2023, a total of 949 samples declared as cocaine were handed in for analysis at the Zurich Drug Information Center (DIZ) and during mobile drug checks. 814 of these samples were submitted as part of the outpatient drug checks and 135 as part of the twelve mobile drug checks. The results published here are not representative of the entire substance market in the city of Zurich.

In 2023, the average cocaine content of the samples analyzed at the DIZ and during mobile drug checks was 86.9 %. Compared to the previous year, there was an increase in the average active substance content of 3.9 %. The cocaine content of the samples analyzed varied greatly and was between 3.4 % and 100 %.

The detailed cocaine evaluation 2023 can be found in the attached report. These are the most important findings from 2023:

- The trend towards an ever higher average active ingredient content in cocaine continues. This development can be observed throughout Europe and is mainly related to the record harvests in the growing countries. A high cocaine content means a greater risk of overdose, especially if users are unaware of this.

- The proportion of active ingredients in the analyzed samples fluctuates relatively strongly, which makes it extremely difficult to dose cocaine at a 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 not lead to the conclusion that consumption is harmless.

- Despite the high average proportion of active substances, around one in seven cocaine samples was still laced with a pharmacologically active extender in 2023. This represents an additional health risk.

- Many users, as well as some experts, have myths about cocaine extenders (e.g. "rat poison"). In recent years, the same extenders have always been detected in the DIZ and the corresponding fears cannot be confirmed. In general, extenders are not used to harm users, but mainly to optimize profits. The criteria for the use of extenders are therefore a low purchase price, availability, similar chemical properties (melting point), similar appearance and enhanced effect (to simulate better quality).

Further information on cocaine can be found on our website here. The results published here are not representative of the substance market in the city of Zurich.


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