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Monitoring temporal changes in use of two cathinones in a large urban catchment in Queensland, Australia


Thai, PK and Lai, FY and Edirisinghe, M and Hall, W and Bruno, R and O'Brien, JW and Prichard, J and Kirkbride, KP and Mueller, JF, Monitoring temporal changes in use of two cathinones in a large urban catchment in Queensland, Australia, Science of The Total Environment, 545-546 pp. 250-255. ISSN 0048-9697 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.12.038


Wastewater analysis was used to examine prevalence and temporal trends in the use of two cathinones, methylone and mephedrone, in an urban population (>200,000 people) in South East Queensland, Australia. Wastewater samples were collected from the inlet of the sewage treatment plant that serviced the catchment from 2011 to 2013. Liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry was used to measure mephedrone and methylone in wastewater sample using direct injection mode. Mephedrone was not detected in any samples while methylone was detected in 45% of the samples. Daily mass loads of methylone were normalized to the population and used to evaluate methylone use in the catchment. Methylone mass loads peaked in 2012 but there was no clear temporal trend over the monitoring period. The prevalence of methylone use in the catchment was associated with the use of MDMA, the more popular analogue of methylone, as indicated by other complementary sources. Methylone use was stable in the study catchment during the monitoring period whereas mephedrone use has been declining after its peak in 2010. More research is needed on the pharmacokinetics of emerging illicit drugs to improve the applicability of wastewater analysis in monitoring their use in the population.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:wastwater epidemiology, novel psychoactive substances, drugs of abuse, sewage epidemiology
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Other psychology
Research Field:Other psychology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bruno, R (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
UTAS Author:Prichard, J (Professor Jeremy Prichard)
ID Code:106554
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:29
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2016-02-13
Last Modified:2022-08-19

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