Nikolaos Thomaidis - Reflection of Socioeconomic Changes in Wastewater: Licit and Illicit Drug Use Patterns

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      Publication Details (including relevant citation   information):

        Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry, Department of     Chemistry, National and Kapodistrian     University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis Zografou, 15771     Athens, Greece 
        Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science     and Technology, Überlandstrasse 133, CH-8600 Dübendorf,     Switzerland 
      Environ. Sci. Technol., 2016, 50 (18), pp 10065–10072
      DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b02417


      The economic crisis plaguing Greece was expected to impact   consumption of pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs – a   priori to an unknown extent. We quantified the change of use   for various classes of licit and illicit drugs by monitoring   Athens’ wastewater from 2010 to 2014. A high increase in the use   of psychoactive drugs was detected between 2010 and 2014,   especially for antipsychotics (35-fold), benzodiazepines   (19-fold), and antidepressants (11-fold). This directly reflects   the perceived increase of incidences associated with mental   illnesses in the population, as a consequence of severe   socioeconomic changes. Other therapeutic classes, like   antiepileptics, hypertensives, and gastric and ulcer drugs also   showed an increase in use (from 2-fold increase for   antiepileptics to 13-fold for hypertensives). In contrast, the   overall use of antibiotics and NSAIDs decreased. For mefenamic   acid, an almost 28-fold decrease was observed. This finding is   likely related to the reduction in drug expenditure applied in   public health. A 2-fold increase of methamphetamine use was   detected, associated with a cheap street drug called   ″sisa″ (related to marginal conducts), which is a health   concern. MDMA (5-fold) and methadone (7-fold) use showed also an   increase, while cocaine and cannabis estimates did not show a   clear trend.

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