Qld wastewater reveals meth secrets
Methamphetamine residue found in the wastewater of a Queensland city has multiplied five times since 2009, according to University of Queensland scientists.
Researchers from The National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology (Entox) worked with Professor Wayne Hall of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research to obtain the results.
“More than 1000 samples were taken from a coastal metropolitan city and a major inland regional city between 2009 and 2015,” Professor Hall said.
“Methamphetamine consumption increased 4.8 times in the metropolitan area over the time frame, and 3.4 times in the regional area.
“This coincides with a study released last week, which showed an upsurge of more than 170,000 regular meth users across Australia between 2009 and 2015, to a total of 270,000 users nationwide.”
The scientists looked at previous studies featuring waste testing and the ways specific drugs are excreted, and compared census populations for both the metropolitan and regional catchments to ascertain their results.
Methamphetamine consumption was measured in milligrams per day per 1000 inhabitants.
In 2009 the mean for the coastal metropolitan area was 234 mg/day/1000 people — which substantially jumped to 1126 mg/day/1000 people in 2015.
The study began a year later in the inland regional city, marked by a mean of 115 mg/day/1000 people in 2010, which increased to 398 mg/day/1000 people in 2015.
Professor Hall said the wastewater analysis alone did not determine whether consumption had increased because there were more users, or because existing users were consuming more, but said “when you view this together with other timely research, it is consistent with there being exponential growth in the number of users”.
A report on national estimates was recently released.
Both the wastewater study and the study on Australian usage estimates have been published by The Medical Journal of Australia.
Originally published here.
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