Monitoring substance use in prisons: Assessing the potential value of wastewater analysis

van Dyken, Emma, Thai, Phong, Lai, Foon Yin, Ort, Christoph, Prichard, Jeremy, Bruno, Raimondo, Hall, Wayne, Kirkbride, K. Paul, & Mueller, Jochen F. (2014) Monitoring substance use in prisons: Assessing the potential value of wastewater analysis. Science and Justice, 54(5), pp. 338-345.

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Prison substance use is a major concern for prison authorities and the wider community. Australia has responded to this problem by implementing the National Corrections Drug Strategy. Across Australia, the true extent of prison substance use cannot be determined. As a result, the effectiveness of the interventions employed as part of this strategy cannot be properly assessed. This has important implications for the allocation of corrective services resources and future policy development. This article explores the benefits and limitations, as well as the ethical and practical issues in using wastewater analysis (WWA) to measure levels of substance use in prisons. It reports results from the first application of WWA to an Australian prison, which supports the use of WWA in this context. Given the increasing concern for prescription misuse in prisons, we also highlight the novel use of WWA to measure the extent of prescription misuse by prisoners. The article concludes that as a result of its objectivity, sensitivity and cost-effectiveness, the use of WWA in prisons warrants further consideration in Australia.

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3 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 89009
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Sewage epidemiology, Prison, Drug-monitoring, Drug-use, Australia
DOI: 10.1016/j.scijus.2014.06.006
ISSN: 1355-0306
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 14 Oct 2015 02:37
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 02:50

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