Management of clandestine drug laboratories: Need for evidence-based environmental health policies

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 2014, 19 (1), pp. 1 - 11
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Clandestine drug laboratories (CDLs) have been emerging and increasing as a public health problem in Australia, with methamphetamine being the dominant illegally manufactured drug. However, management and remediation of contaminated properties are still limited in terms of regulation and direction, especially in relation to public and environmental health practice. Therefore, this review provides an update on the hazards and health effects associated with CDLs, with a specific look at the management of these labs from an Australian perspective. Particularly, the paper attempts to describe the policy landscape for management of CDLs, and identifies current gaps and how further research may be utilised to advance understanding and management of CDLs and inform public health policies. The paper highlights a significant lack of evidence-based policies and guidelines to guide regulatory authority including environmental health officers in Australia. Only recently, the national Clandestine Drug Laboratory Guidelines were developed to assist relevant authority and specialists manage and carry out investigations and remediation of contaminated sites. However, only three states have developed state-based guidelines, some of which are inadequate to meet environmental health requirements. The review recommends well-needed inter-sectoral collaborations and further research to provide an evidence base for the development of robust policies and standard operating procedures for safe and effective environmental health management and remediation of CDLs. © 2013 The Japanese Society for Hygiene.
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