The Country That Used the Most Drugs to Bring in 2021

Medscape Staff

December 07, 2021

Amid coronavirus restrictions in most of the world, one country stood apart in consuming new psychoactive substances at New Year celebrations as 2020 changed to 2021.

What to know:

  • Wastewater epidemiologists evaluated the drugs detectable in wastewater samples across several countries over the 2020/2021 New Year period: Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Fiji, Korea, New Zealand, Spain, and the United States.

  • According to the results, published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters, New Zealanders consumed the highest loads of new psychoactive substances, which include different designer drugs that mimic illicit drugs like cannabis, cocaine, MDMA, and LSD.

  • This may be due to the fact that New Zealand was at the time one of the few countries in the world without COVID restrictions, according to the researchers. This allowed people to attend events where drugs were more likely to be consumed.

  • Across the board, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada showed the highest drug use during the period, and China and Fiji showed the lowest ― though this could be due to the number of sites tested in each country in addition to lockdown measures, researchers say.

  • In particular, the article noted the increased use of eutylone detected in Australasia, Canada, and the United States ― not detected at the sites in Europe or Asia ― as a concern because it has been previously linked to deaths.

This is a summary of the article, "Kiwis Took Advantage of COVID Freedoms Last New Year to Party Hard," published by Newswise on December 7. The full article can be found on

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