Wastewater analysis was applied in a four-year monitoring study to assess temporal and spatial patterns of ketamine and mephedrone use in the general population in Italy. Composite raw wastewater samples were collected from sewage treatment plants (STPs) in 17 cities. Target analytes were measured using a validated method based on solid phase extraction and liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry analysis. Mass loads were use to assess ketamine and mephedrone use and were normalized to the population served by the plants. Ketamine was detected in wastewater in all except one (Palermo) of the cities investigated, while mephedrone was detected only in Bologna and Florence. Ketamine mass loads progressively increased from 2010 to 2013, and in Milan rose from 1 to 1.5 g/day in 2008-2010 to 3.4-3.6 g/day in 2013-2014. Mass loads were higher in north and central Italy than in the south, and in larger rather than small cities. Wastewater analysis was suitable to provide objective and up-to-date information on the use of ketamine in Italy, to identify ketamine spatial and temporal changes, and to confirm the low use of mephedrone. These results can complement information from population surveys which often provide only scant and incomplete figures for these substances.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry