A government-sponsored study has found cocaine and marijuana in the air of eight of Italy’s biggest cities.
Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome, Turin, Bologna, and Verona were all found to have trace amounts of the drugs polluting the air. However, the amounts are so low that they will not get anyone high. The researchers said the findings were simply a good indicator of cocaine and marijuana usage in those cities.
The study also measured the traces of caffeine and nicotine in the air.
The study, posted on ScienceDirect, found that Palermo appeared to use the least amount of drugs while Turin appeared to use the most. It also revealed that while cocaine and nicotine usage was steady year-round, traces of of marijuana and caffeine peaked in the winter months and dropped close to zero from May to August. Researchers attributed the fluctuation to seasonal depression.
The study was conducted over the course of one year starting in May 2010, and the contents of the psychotropic substances (PSs) were plotted against air toxicants O3 (ozone), N02 (nitrogen dioxide), PM10 (particulate matter), and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). The results were also compared to the results of previous investigations.
We reported last year that the first large tests to detect different substances in the air were conducted in Italy and found cocaine and marijuana in the air throughout most of Rome.
The Italian government is hoping to use this method to track usage in the future so it can work on solving drug-related issues.