The use of wastewater analysis in forensic intelligence: drug consumption comparison between Sydney and different European cities
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Forensic Sciences Research, 2019, 4 (2), pp. 141 - 151
- Issue Date:
© 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the Academy of Forensic Science. Wastewater analysis offers objective and complementary information to illicit drug agencies by monitoring patterns of illicit drug consumption. In this study, wastewater samples from three different wastewater treatment plants in Sydney, Australia were collected in March 2016. Ten targeted drugs were analysed and temporal and geographical analyses were performed to obtain a better understanding of the type and amount of illicit drugs consumed in Sydney in comparison with similar studies conducted around Australia and in Europe. Among the targeted drugs, methamphetamine was consumed the most, followed by cocaine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Weekly patterns were observed where a peak during the weekend was present. The geographical analysis showed differences between the regions targeted. This observation may be related to socio-demographic aspects. The comparison of our study to other data sources from Australia showed a high consumption of methamphetamine in Sydney and Western Australia. The comparison between Sydney and different European cities revealed a difference in consumption, which is in line with traditional market indicators. The information obtained through wastewater analysis provides complementary information regarding illicit drug consumption, the size, and the evolution of the illicit drug market. This, ultimately, will assist authorities in making informed decisions.
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