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Type: Journal article
Title: Population drug use in Australia: A wastewater analysis
Author: Irvine, R.
Kostakis, C.
Felgate, P.
Jaehne, E.
Chen, C.
White, J.
Citation: Forensic Science International, 2011; 210(1-3):69-73
Publisher: Elsevier Sci Ireland Ltd
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0379-0738
Statement of
Rodney J. Irvine, Chris Kostakis, Peter D. Felgate, Emily J. Jaehne, Chang Chen, Jason M. White
Abstract: Accurate information on drug use in communities is essential if health, social and economic harms associated with illicit drug use are to be addressed efficiently. In most countries population drug use is estimated indirectly via surveys, medical presentations and police and custom seizures. All of these methods have at least some problems due to bias, small samples and/or long time delays between collecting the information and analysing the results. Recently the direct quantification of drug residues in wastewater has shown promise as a means of monitoring drug use in defined geographical areas. In this study we measured 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), methamphetamine and benzoylecgonine in sewage inflows in metropolitan and regional areas of Australia and compared these data with published European data. Cocaine use was small compared to European cities (p<0.001) but was compensated for by much greater consumption of methamphetamine (p<0.001) and MDMA (p<0.05). MDMA was more popular in regional areas (p<0.05) whereas methamphetamine and cocaine were mainly consumed in the city (p<0.05). Greater than 5-fold increases in MDMA use were detected on weekends (p<0.001). This approach has the potential to improve our understanding of drug use in populations and should be further developed to improve prevention and treatment programs.
Keywords: Geographical drug monitoring; Wastewater analysis; Cocaine; Benzoylecgonine; Methamphetamine; MDMA
Rights: © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
RMID: 0020110501
DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.01.037
Appears in Collections:Pharmacology publications

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