Cocaine content still very high

The DIZ publishes quarterly evaluations of cocaine samples tested at the DIZ and at mobile outreach sites. This is to supplement the annual evaluations and to raise awareness of the specific risks associated with cocaine use. The results published here are not representative of the entire substance market in the city of Zurich.

Cocaine is a substance with a comparatively high potential for harm and dependence. In addition to the known risks, the frequent occurrence of pharmacologically active extenders poses an additional health risk that is difficult to assess, especially for regular users. These are rarely acute side effects, but primarily long-term effects. The evaluation shows that even samples with high cocaine content frequently contained pharmacologically active extenders. In addition, the highly fluctuating cocaine content represents an often underestimated consumption risk. The higher the cocaine content, the greater the risk of overdose. High-dose cocaine can place a heavy burden on the cardiovascular system and, under certain circumstances and physical conditions, can trigger a heart attack or stroke. Information and recommendations for low-risk consumption can be found on this homepage.

In the first quarter of 2023 (January to March), 242 samples declared as cocaine were handed in for analysis at the Drug Information Center (DIZ) and at two mobile drug checkings in Zurich. In this quarter, the average cocaine content of the analyzed samples was 85.5% cocaine*HCl. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, the average drug content increased by 0.2 %. The cocaine content of the samples analyzed varied widely, ranging from 25.2 % to 99.4 %.

In the first quarter of 2023, 14.1% of the above cocaine samples were laced with at least one pharmacologically active substance. Levamisole was added most frequently (in 32 samples). Other extenders included phenacetin (4 samples), caffeine (3 samples), procaine (2 samples), BEC (2 samples), amphetamine (2 samples), and ketamine (1 sample). In addition, two misdeclared samples were submitted in the first quarter of 2023, one containing amphetamine instead of cocaine and the other MDMA.

Detailed information on cocaine extenders as well as SaferUse tips can be found on our website .


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