An exploratory wastewater analysis study of drug use in Auckland, New Zealand

Lai, Foon Yin, Wilkins, Chris, Thai, Phong and Mueller, Jochen F. (2017) An exploratory wastewater analysis study of drug use in Auckland, New Zealand. Drug and Alcohol Review, . doi:10.1111/dar.12509

Author Lai, Foon Yin
Wilkins, Chris
Thai, Phong
Mueller, Jochen F.
Title An exploratory wastewater analysis study of drug use in Auckland, New Zealand
Journal name Drug and Alcohol Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1465-3362
Publication date 2017-03-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/dar.12509
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Total pages 5
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2018
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Introduction and Aims: New Zealand is considered to have unusual drug use patterns by international standards. However, this understanding has largely been obtained from social surveys where respondents self-report use. The aim of this paper is to conduct the first wastewater study of drug use in Auckland.

Design and Methods: Wastewater sampling was completed from 2 May to 18 July 2014 at 2 Auckland wastewater treatment plants which service 1.3 million people. Samples were analysed for 17 drug residues by using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Consumption of methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), cocaine, codeine and methadone (mg/day/1000 people) was estimated by using a back-calculation formula.

Results: Methamphetamine, codeine, morphine and methadone were detected with high frequency (80-100%), followed by amphetamine (~60%), MDMA (~7%, i.e. 8 occasions) and methylone (3 occasions). An overall mean of 360 mg of methamphetamine and 60 mg of MDMA was estimated to have been consumed per day per 1000 people. Methamphetamine consumption was found at similar levels in both catchments (377 and 351 mg/day/1000 people). Cocaine was only detected in 1 catchment and on only 8 occasions. JWH-018 was detected in 1 catchment and only on 1 occasion. Methamphetamine, codeine and other opioids were detected at a consistent level throughout the week. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine and methylone were detected only during the weekends.

Conclusions: Wastewater analysis confirms that methamphetamine was one of the most commonly detected illegal drugs in Auckland and was detected consistently throughout the week. In contrast, cocaine and MDMA were rarely detected, with detection limited to weekends.
Keyword Drug detection
New Zealand
Wastewater analysis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology Publications
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Created: Tue, 28 Mar 2017, 00:20:19 EST by Web Cron on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)