Wastewater analysis for community-wide drugs use assessment

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Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) complements existing epidemiology-based estimation techniques and provides objective, evidence-based estimates of illicit drug use. After consumption, biomarkers – drugs and their metabolites – excreted to toilets and flushed into urban sewer networks can be measured in raw wastewater samples. The quantified loads can serve as an estimate for the collective consumption of all people contributing to the wastewater sample. This transdisciplinary approach, further explained in this chapter, has developed, matured and is now established for monitoring substances such as cocaine and amphetamine-type stimulants. Research currently underway is refining WBE to new applications including new psychoactive substances (NPS).




Ort, C., Bijlsma, L., Castiglioni, S., Covaci, A., de Voogt, P., Emke, E., … Kasprzyk-Hordern, B. (2018). Wastewater analysis for community-wide drugs use assessment. In Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology (Vol. 252, pp. 543–566). Springer New York LLC. https://doi.org/10.1007/164_2018_111

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