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Measuring drug use patterns in Queensland through wastewater analysis


Prichard, J and Foon, YL and Kirkbride, P and Bruno, R and Ort, C and Carter, S and Hall, W and Gartner, C and Phone, KT and Mueller, JF, Measuring drug use patterns in Queensland through wastewater analysis, Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, (422) pp. 1-8. ISSN 1836-2206 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2012 Australian Institute of Criminology

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Estimating the use of illicit drugs in the general community is an important task with ramifications for law enforcement agencies, as well as health portfolios. Australia has four ongoing drug monitoring systems, including the AICís DUMA program, the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, the Illicit Drug Reporting System and the Ecstasy and Related Drug Reporting System. The systems vary in methods, but broadly they are reliant upon self-report data and may be subject to selection biases. The present study employed a completely different method. By chemically analysing sewerage water, the study produced daily estimates of consumption of methamphetamine, MDMA and cocaine. Samples were collected in November 2009 and November 2010 from a municipality in Queensland, with an population of over 150,000 people. Estimates were made of the average daily dose and average daily street value per 1,000 people. On the basis of estimated dose and price, the methamphetamine market appeared considerably stronger than either MDMA or cocaine. This paper explains the strengths and weaknesses of wastewater analysis. It considers the potential value of wastewater analysis in measuring net consumption of illicit drugs and the effectiveness of law enforcement agency strategies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Other law and legal studies
Research Field:Other law and legal studies not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Prichard, J (Associate Professor Jeremy Prichard)
UTAS Author:Bruno, R (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
ID Code:78466
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2012-06-29
Last Modified:2017-09-15
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