Spatial differences and temporal changes in illicit drug use in Europe quantified by wastewater analysis
Version of Record online: 27 MAY 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Addiction published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society for the Study of Addiction
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Volume 109, Issue 8, pages 1338–1352, August 2014
How to Cite
Ort, C., van Nuijs, A. L. N., Berset, J.-D., Bijlsma, L., Castiglioni, S., Covaci, A., de Voogt, P., Emke, E., Fatta-Kassinos, D., Griffiths, P., Hernández, F., González-Mariño, I., Grabic, R., Kasprzyk-Hordern, B., Mastroianni, N., Meierjohann, A., Nefau, T., Östman, M., Pico, Y., Racamonde, I., Reid, M., Slobodnik, J., Terzic, S., Thomaidis, N. and Thomas, K. V. (2014), Spatial differences and temporal changes in illicit drug use in Europe quantified by wastewater analysis. Addiction, 109: 1338–1352. doi: 10.1111/add.12570
[The copyright line for this article was changed on 05 September 2014 after original online publication.]
- Issue online: 8 JUL 2014
- Version of Record online: 27 MAY 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 APR 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 9 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Received: 24 JUL 2013
- Belgium: FWO Flanders and University of Antwerp
- Croatia: Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports. Grant Number: 098-982934-2712
- Czech Republic: CENAKVA. Grant Numbers: CZ.1.05/2.1.00/01.0024, GAJU 087/2013/Z
- Finland: Maa-ja vesitekniikan tuki ry, the Finnish Graduate School for Environmental Science and Technology
- Italy: Dipartimento Politiche Antidroga (Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri) (Project Aqua Drugs)
- Norway: Research Council of Norway. Grant Number: 185523/V50
- Spain: Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Grant Number: CTQ2010-18927
- SCARCE Consolider-Ingenio 2010. Grant Number: CSD2009-00065
- EMERFOR. Grant Numbers: CGL2011-29703-C02-02, CTQ2012-36189
- CSIC-JAE, Generalitat Valenciana. Grant Numbers: ISIC/2012/016, PROMETEO/2009/054
- The European Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
- European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration (grant agreement no. 317205, ITN SEWPROF)
- drugs of abuse;
To perform wastewater analyses to assess spatial differences and temporal changes of illicit drug use in a large European population.
Analyses of raw wastewater over a 1-week period in 2012 and 2013.
Setting and Participants
Catchment areas of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) across Europe, as follows: 2012: 25 WWTPs in 11 countries (23 cities, total population 11.50 million); 2013: 47 WWTPs in 21 countries (42 cities, total population 24.74 million).
Excretion products of five illicit drugs (cocaine, amphetamine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, cannabis) were quantified in wastewater samples using methods based on liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry.
Spatial differences were assessed and confirmed to vary greatly across European metropolitan areas. In general, results were in agreement with traditional surveillance data, where available. While temporal changes were substantial in individual cities and years (P ranging from insignificant to <10−3), overall means were relatively stable. The overall mean of methamphetamine was an exception (apparent decline in 2012), as it was influenced mainly by four cities.
Wastewater analysis performed across Europe provides complementary evidence on illicit drug consumption and generally concurs with traditional surveillance data. Wastewater analysis can measure total illicit drug use more quickly and regularly than is the current norm for national surveys, and creates estimates where such data does not exist.