Flemish Institute for Technological Research can render cocaine unusable in 1.5 hours

The Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) can render cocaine unusable in 1.5 hours, according to Flemish Justice Minister Zuhal Demir. The company was asked to come up with such a process to help reduce the security risk in the war against drugs.

As recently as October last year, seven Dutchmen were caught near the shed where Customs stored seized cocaine before it left for the incinerator. The armed men, almost all from the Amsterdam region, were believed to be planning to steal a large haul of the drugs. VITO was subsequently commissioned to design a system to immediately render seized drugs inert, thus removing the security risk.

According to Minister Demir, VITO now managed to completely chemically degrade cocaine in 1.5 hours. “This is good news because it means the chemical material to degrade cocaine is freely available and the degradation can also be done by customs staff without too much risk of accidents.”

Further tests will now be carried out to see if larger quantities could be processed as well. The potential reversibility of the process will also be considered, and a cost-benefit analysis will be carried out. Demir has said that she ideally hopes to “arrive at a mobile plant that can be driven around to where the drugs can be degraded.”


#FlandersNewsService | A customs officer in the harbor of Rotterdam © BELGA PHOTO KRISTOF VAN ACCOM

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