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Association between purity of drug seizures and illicit drug loads measured in wastewater in a South East Queensland catchment over a six year period

Citation

Bruno, R and Edirisinghe, M and Hall, W and Mueller, JF and Lai, FY and O'Brien, JW and Thai, PK, Association between purity of drug seizures and illicit drug loads measured in wastewater in a South East Queensland catchment over a six year period, Science of the Total Environment, 635 pp. 779-783. ISSN 0048-9697 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.192

Abstract

This study aimed to examine associations between the annual average purity of seized illicit drugs and their corresponding load measured in wastewater. Daily loads (averaging 81 samples/year) and purity of seized methamphetamine (average 287 samples/year), cocaine (50/year) and MDMA (70/year) were collected from a catchment that serviced approximately 220,000 persons in Queensland, Australia during 2010-2015. Using regression models for mass load and purity data, we found a strong linear increase in the mass load of methamphetamine detected across study years (3631126 mg/1000 people/day, R2 = 0.89). Strong linear increases in methamphetamine purity were also apparent (19-69%), and were closely correlated with detected mass load (r > 0.9). When differences in purity were controlled for, the linear trend in mass load over time was no longer significant (p > 0.27). For cocaine and MDMA there were no statistically significant trends in either mass load or drug purity over the study period. Our study demonstrates that purity changes may have accounted for a substantial proportion of increases of methamphetamine load measured in wastewater of the studied catchment. Wherever possible, when examining temporal trends in drug loads, or when making comparisons between geographic regions, purity trends should also be examined, as this can aid appropriate interpretation of findings by stakeholders and policy makers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:illicit drugs, substance use, drug seizure, drug purity, population harm, wastewater analysis, methamphetamine
Research Division:Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Research Group:Other Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Research Field:Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health)
Objective Field:Substance Abuse
UTAS Author:Bruno, R (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
ID Code:132588
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2019-05-14
Last Modified:2019-08-08
Downloads:0

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