Valutazione dell'uso di droga nelle città: Residui nelle acque di scarico e consumi nella popolazione

Translated title of the contribution: Evaluation of drug use in cities

Ettore Zuccato, Sara Castiglioni, Chiara Chiabrando, Renzo Bagnati, Roberto Fanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims. This paper describes a new method to estimate the consumption of illicit drugs in a population by monitoring drug residues in wastewater. Methods. The amounts of drug residues carried by wastewater to a treatment plant reflects in fact the amounts collectively excreted with urine by consumers. Results. Illicit drug consumption can thus be back-calculated from the concentration of selected residues in wastewater. We have used this method to estimate the daily consumption of cocaine, opiates, cannabis and amphetamines in Milan, Lugano and London. Profiles of local drug consumption based on wastewater measurements were in line with national annual prevalence estimates obtained by epidemiological approaches. Conclusions. Our evidence-based method allows monitoring of patterns and trends of drug abuse in local communities, and is able to detect qualitative and quantitative consumption changes in real time. This tool can therefore complement survey methods in more realistically describing the drug abuse phenomenon.

Translated title of the contributionEvaluation of drug use in cities
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalRicerca e Pratica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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