Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wastewater used to map illicit drug use

20.07.2009
A team of researchers has mapped patterns of illicit drug use across the state of Oregon using a method of sampling municipal wastewater before it is treated.

Their findings provide a one-day snapshot of drug excretion that can be used to better understand patterns of drug use in multiple municipalities over time. Municipal water treatment facilities across Oregon volunteered for the study to help further the development of this methodology as a proactive tool for health officials.

Applying analytical methods advanced at Oregon State University, researchers from the University of Washington, McGill University and OSU collected single-day samples from 96 municipalities across Oregon and tested the samples for evidence of methamphetamine, cocaine, and "ecstasy" or MDMA.

The study, published this week in the journal Addiction, reports a demonstration of this methodology conducted by UW drug epidemiologist Caleb Banta-Green, OSU chemist Jennifer Field, OSU toxicologist Daniel Sudakin, McGill spatial epidemiologist Luc de Montigny, OSU faculty research assistant Laura Power and OSU graduate student Aurea Chiaia.

"This work is the first to demonstrate the use of wastewater samples for spatial analyses, a relatively simple and cost-effective approach to measuring community drug use," said Banta-Green, lead author of the paper. "Current measures of the true prevalence of drug use are severely limited both by cost and methodological issues. We believe these data have great utility as a population measure of drug use and provide further evidence of the validity of this methodology."

"Municipalities across the state generously volunteered to help us test our methods by collecting samples more or less simultaneously, providing us with 24-hour composite influent samples from one day -- March 4, 2008," said Field, who led the laboratory analyses of the samples.

Using these samples from 96 municipalities, representing 65 percent of Oregon's population, the researchers calculated the presence, measured as index loads, of three stimulant drugs: methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, or ecstasy), and benzoylecgonine (BZE, a cocaine metabolite).

They found that the index loads of BZE were significantly higher in urban areas and below the level of detection in some rural areas. Methamphetamine was present in all municipalities, rural and urban. MDMA was at quantifiable levels in less than half of the communities, with a significant trend toward higher index loads in more urban areas.

Researchers said the study validates wastewater drug testing methodology that could serve as a tool for public health officials. Officials could, for example, use the methodology to identify patterns of drug abuse across multiple municipalities over time.

The research team underscored, too, that data used for this study are inadequate as a complete measure of drug excretion for a community or entire state. The team looked at a single day, mid-week sample, for instance. Results might be altered depending on the day or time of year the sample was gathered.

"We believe this methodology can dramatically improve measurement of the true level and distribution of a range of illicit drugs. By measuring a community's drug index load, public health officials will have information applicable to a much larger proportion of the total population than existing measures can provide," said Banta-Green.

Currently, Field and Banta-Green are working on a project funded by the National Institutes of Health to determine the best method for collecting data in order to get a reliable annual estimate of drug excretion for a community.

Jennifer Field | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.oregonstate.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ambush in a petri dish
24.11.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>