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Wastewater-based drug epidemiology to estimate societal drug use: A critical review

Tran, Lena (2018) Wastewater-based drug epidemiology to estimate societal drug use: A critical review. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Illicit drug use has many consequences resulting in social, health, and economic harm. An objective method of quantifying societal drug use would be useful for the efficient directing of the efforts of law enforcement, medical facilities and policy makers, and to inform the community. To this end, efforts to ascertain societal drug use have relied upon community surveys and extrapolation from law enforcement seizures, which often present the data as biased or skewed due to a small sample size and other associated limitations.

In recent times, wastewater-based drug epidemiology (WBDE) has been proposed as a suitable means to objectively quantify societal drug use. WBDE is the study of the incidence and distribution of drug use within a population and the its factors affecting the health and welfare. It is a method contingent upon the concept of measuring drug metabolites or biomarkers in wastewater (WW), from which levels of societal drug use are estimated and quantified through extrapolation and back-calculations.

The aim of this study was to critically review the various methods of WBDE that have been applied in Australia and in Europe. The outcomes of the assessment pertaining to their validity in directly and objectively measuring societal drug use will be presented.

Keywords: wastewater-based drug epidemiology, wastewater-based epidemiology, illicit drugs, drug abuse, estimate, societal drug use, population

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor(s): Coumbaros, John
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/41515
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