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Illicit Drugs in Municipal Sewage (From Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Scientific and Regulatory Issues, P 348-364, 2001, Christian G. Daughton, Tammy L. Jones-Lepp eds.)

NCJ Number
Christian G. Draughton
Christian G. Daughton, Tammy L. Jones-Lepp
Date Published
17 pages
This article presents a study on the environmental impact of the use and dumping of illicit drugs and also suggests ways in which environmental testing can be used to monitor drug use rates.
This article is intended to provide information on both the relationship between people and the environment and also between societal concerns due to illicit drug use. Examples of the impact of human activity on the environment are given. The author explores the pollution impact of illicit drugs with a specific focus on the presence of drugs and drug waste in sewage and water supplies as an aftereffect of illicit drug use. An underappreciated aspect of environmental pollution is that personal, individual use of certain substances can lead to a direct and indirect discharge to the environment through untreated sewage and sewage treatment systems and illegal disposal. The Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) Initiative proposed two major objectives (1) to heighten the public's awareness and understanding of issues involving pollution by synthetic chemicals; and (2) make available to the public, community-scale data on actual consumption/usage and ultimate environmental disposal/disposition of illicit drugs. Illicit drug use research conducted by the Unites States government and available on the Internet is referenced and described. The impact of estrogenic and anabolic androgenic steroid use on the aquaculture is discussed. The author proposes a method to back calculate drug use based on sewage effluent composition. 11 references