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Refining the estimation of illicit drug consumptions from wastewater analysis: co-analysis of prescription pharmaceuticals and uncertainty assessment.
Water Res 2011; 45(15):4437-48WR

Abstract

Wastewater analysis is a promising monitoring tool to estimate illicit drug consumption at the community level. The advantage of this technique over traditional surveys and other surveillance methods has been emphasized in recent studies. However, there are methodological challenges that can affect reliability. The objectives of this study were to systematically reduce and assess uncertainties associated with sampling (through a stringent optimization of the sampling method) and the back calculation of per capita drug consumption (through a refined estimation of the number of people actively contributing to the wastewater in a given period). We applied continuous flow-proportional sampling to ensure the collection of representative raw wastewater samples. Residues of illicit drugs, opioids, prescription pharmaceuticals and one artificial sweetener were analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. A parameter estimating the number of people actively contributing to wastewater over a given period was calculated from the measured loads of prescription pharmaceuticals, their annual consumption and relative excretion data. For the calculation of substance loads in sewage, uncertainties were propagated considering five individual components: sampling, chemical analysis, flow measurements, excretion rates and the number of people contributing to the wastewater. The daily consumption per 1000 inhabitants was estimated to be almost 1000 mg for cannabis and several hundred mg for cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy. With the best sampling practice and current chemical analysis, we calculated the remaining uncertainty to be in the range of 20-30% (relative standard deviation, RSD) for the estimation of consumed drug masses in the catchment; RSDs for the per capita consumption were lower (14-24%), as one of the biggest uncertainty components (i.e. error in flow measurements) cancels out in the proposed method for the estimation of the number of people contributing to the daily wastewater volume. In this study, we provide methodological improvements that substantially enhance the reliability of the estimation method--a prerequisite for the application of this technique to meaningfully assess changes in drug consumption and the success of drug intervention strategies in future studies.

Authors+Show Affiliations

The University of Queensland, The National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology (Entox), 39 Kessels Road, Coopers Plains, QLD 4108, Australia.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

21745676

Citation

Lai, Foon Yin, et al. "Refining the Estimation of Illicit Drug Consumptions From Wastewater Analysis: Co-analysis of Prescription Pharmaceuticals and Uncertainty Assessment." Water Research, vol. 45, no. 15, 2011, pp. 4437-48.
Lai FY, Ort C, Gartner C, et al. Refining the estimation of illicit drug consumptions from wastewater analysis: co-analysis of prescription pharmaceuticals and uncertainty assessment. Water Res. 2011;45(15):4437-48.
Lai, F. Y., Ort, C., Gartner, C., Carter, S., Prichard, J., Kirkbride, P., ... Mueller, J. F. (2011). Refining the estimation of illicit drug consumptions from wastewater analysis: co-analysis of prescription pharmaceuticals and uncertainty assessment. Water Research, 45(15), pp. 4437-48. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2011.05.042.
Lai FY, et al. Refining the Estimation of Illicit Drug Consumptions From Wastewater Analysis: Co-analysis of Prescription Pharmaceuticals and Uncertainty Assessment. Water Res. 2011 Oct 1;45(15):4437-48. PubMed PMID: 21745676.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Refining the estimation of illicit drug consumptions from wastewater analysis: co-analysis of prescription pharmaceuticals and uncertainty assessment. AU - Lai,Foon Yin, AU - Ort,Christoph, AU - Gartner,Coral, AU - Carter,Steve, AU - Prichard,Jeremy, AU - Kirkbride,Paul, AU - Bruno,Raimondo, AU - Hall,Wayne, AU - Eaglesham,Geoff, AU - Mueller,Jochen F, Y1 - 2011/06/15/ PY - 2011/02/21/received PY - 2011/05/21/revised PY - 2011/05/28/accepted PY - 2011/7/13/entrez PY - 2011/7/13/pubmed PY - 2012/2/14/medline SP - 4437 EP - 48 JF - Water research JO - Water Res. VL - 45 IS - 15 N2 - Wastewater analysis is a promising monitoring tool to estimate illicit drug consumption at the community level. The advantage of this technique over traditional surveys and other surveillance methods has been emphasized in recent studies. However, there are methodological challenges that can affect reliability. The objectives of this study were to systematically reduce and assess uncertainties associated with sampling (through a stringent optimization of the sampling method) and the back calculation of per capita drug consumption (through a refined estimation of the number of people actively contributing to the wastewater in a given period). We applied continuous flow-proportional sampling to ensure the collection of representative raw wastewater samples. Residues of illicit drugs, opioids, prescription pharmaceuticals and one artificial sweetener were analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. A parameter estimating the number of people actively contributing to wastewater over a given period was calculated from the measured loads of prescription pharmaceuticals, their annual consumption and relative excretion data. For the calculation of substance loads in sewage, uncertainties were propagated considering five individual components: sampling, chemical analysis, flow measurements, excretion rates and the number of people contributing to the wastewater. The daily consumption per 1000 inhabitants was estimated to be almost 1000 mg for cannabis and several hundred mg for cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy. With the best sampling practice and current chemical analysis, we calculated the remaining uncertainty to be in the range of 20-30% (relative standard deviation, RSD) for the estimation of consumed drug masses in the catchment; RSDs for the per capita consumption were lower (14-24%), as one of the biggest uncertainty components (i.e. error in flow measurements) cancels out in the proposed method for the estimation of the number of people contributing to the daily wastewater volume. In this study, we provide methodological improvements that substantially enhance the reliability of the estimation method--a prerequisite for the application of this technique to meaningfully assess changes in drug consumption and the success of drug intervention strategies in future studies. SN - 1879-2448 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/21745676/Refining_the_estimation_of_illicit_drug_consumptions_from_wastewater_analysis:_co_analysis_of_prescription_pharmaceuticals_and_uncertainty_assessment_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -