Where even the pigeons sniff cocaineby Ivano Abbadessa - 2014.06.10
The most satisfied cocaine users in the world live in Belgium. In fact, according to the latest international report on drugs, Belgians rate the drug with a satisfaction level of 5.5 out of 10, which puts them far ahead of the Australians, who trail behind in the table by rating the drug just 2.2. It's not a fact that should surprise many though, seeing as even the wildlife in and around Brussels is forced to sniff cocaine.
It's no joking matter. Just a few days ago, an online petition was set up to ask the government to stop the controversial practice of doping racing pigeons, which are pumped with coke to make them win bird-racing competitions. The appeal has almost reached its target of 45,000 signatures. The Global Drug Survey, a scientific analysis of waste water in 45 European cities, confirms that the Belgian drugs market is untouched by the crisis. By comparing its results with the number of each city's inhabitants, the researchers concluded that Antwerp is the European capital of cocaine. The highest concentration of benzoylecgonine – the substance the body produces after metabolisation of the drug – was found in the city's sewers. Amsterdam was in second place, followed by Zurich and London.
On the whole, you could say that it's not just chocolate and frites that make the Belgians so cheerful. There are various reasons behind this phenomenon and competitive pricing is probably also a factor. The global drugs report found that Belgium is one of the countries where buying cocaine is cheapest, at just €50 per gramme.
Moreover, about 25% of the cocaine that comes from Latin America into the European continent is smuggled directly into Belgium, according to the experts. And most of it passes straight through the famous harbour of Antwerp, which really is Europe's 'drugstore'.
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