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Illicit drug use in Reykjavik by wastewater-based epidemiology

Illicit drug use in Reykjavik by wastewater-based epidemiology

Title: Illicit drug use in Reykjavik by wastewater-based epidemiology
Author: Löve, Arndís Sue Ching
Ásgrímsson, Valþór
Ólafsdóttir, Kristín
Date: 2022-01-10
Language: English
School: Health Sciences
Department: Faculty of Medicine
Series: Science of the Total Environment; 803()
ISSN: 0048-9697
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149795
Subject: Frárennsli; Reykjvík; Reykjavík; Fíkniefni; Fíkniefnaneysla; Akstur; Driving under the influence; Drug consumption; Drug seizures; Illicit drugs; Wastewater-based epidemiology; Environmental Engineering; Environmental Chemistry; Waste Management and Disposal; Pollution
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/3045

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Löve , A S C , Ásgrímsson , V & Ólafsdóttir , K 2022 , ' Illicit drug use in Reykjavik by wastewater-based epidemiology ' , Science of the Total Environment , vol. 803 , 149795 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149795


Estimation of illicit drug use on a community level by wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is both an objective and reliable way to establish near real-time results. Wastewater samples were collected at eleven timepoints in Reykjavik from 2017 to 2020. The use of commonly abused illicit drugs in Iceland (amphetamine, methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), cocaine, and cannabis) was estimated. Solid phase extraction and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry was used for analysis. Estimated amphetamine and methamphetamine use showed signs of an increase from 2017 to 2020 with amphetamine being the dominant stimulant on the market. MDMA use remained stable from 2017 to 2020. Results showed a large increase in cocaine use from 2017 to 2019 but interestingly, a marked decrease in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cannabis use was stable from 2017 to 2019 but showed signs of an increase during the pandemic in 2020. Results by WBE corresponded with data based on two other indicators of drug use, seizure data and driving under the influence cases. Both temporal and spatial trends in illicit drug use were successfully estimated by using WBE, complimenting other indicators which provided a comprehensive picture of drug abuse in Reykjavik.


Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors We want to acknowledge Birgir Tómas Arnar from Verkís hf. and Veitur ohf., Reykjavik Iceland, for their valuable cooperation in providing technical information and assisting with sample collection. We want to thank the DPT and the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police for providing important data. We also want to acknowledge the Icelandic Research Fund [Grant number 163049-051] and the University of Iceland Research Fund for their contributions.

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