Monitoring illicit drug use through wastewater analysis in south east Queensland, Australia

Lai, F., Prichard, J., Bruno, R., Ort, C., Gartner, C., Carter, S., Kirkbride, P., Hall, W., Eaglesham, G., Thai, P., Salinas, A., & Mueller, J. F. (2011) Monitoring illicit drug use through wastewater analysis in south east Queensland, Australia. In Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs Conference 2011, 13-16 November 2011, Hobart, Australia.

View at publisher


Introduction and Aims: Wastewater analysis has become a useful technique for monitoring illicit drug use in communities. Findings have been reported from different countries in Europe and North America. We applied this technique to gauge the illicit drug consumption in an urban catchment from South East Queensland, Australia.

Design and Methods: The sampling campaigns were conducted in 2009 (21st November – 2nd December) and 2010 (19th – 25th November). We collected daily composite wastewater samples from the inlet of the sewage treatment plant using continuous flow-proportional sampling. Ten illicit drug residues (parent compounds and key metabolites) in the samples were measured using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometer.

Results: Seven compounds were quantified in all the samples. Our data indicated higher drug consumption on weekends. Cannabis was the highest used drug in both sampling periods. Compared to the first sampling campaign which indicated that cocaine and methamphetamine use exceeded ecstasy usage, the second sampling campaign suggested the use of methamphetamine exceeded that of ecstasy which in turn exceeded cocaine use.

Discussion and Conclusions: The observed weekly trend of drug use in our study is in agreement with findings in other studies. The variation between two sampling periods in the prevalence of drug use may relate to the availability and prices of the drugs on markets. The cocaine use we estimated in 2009 was much greater than estimations obtained through the national household survey [1], implying under- reporting of cocaine use in surveys. Future work is underway to tackle methodological challenges for more accurate estimation.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 88977
Item Type: Conference Item (Other)
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00355.x
ISSN: 0959-5236
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 14 Oct 2015 01:07
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2015 02:29

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page