JDJCSET | Sigma Xi Poster Competition

Title

Estimation of the Consumption of Illicit Drugs during Special Events in Two Communities in Western Kentucky, USA using Sewage Epidemiology

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Chemistry

Minor

Criminal Justice

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Bikram Subedi; Dena R. Hammond-Weinberger

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Conventional estimation of community consumption of drugs based on self-reported surveys, overdose/toxicological reports, and drug-related crime statistics are time- and cost-intensive, and typically underestimate the actual consumption. Based on sewage epidemiology - an alternative approach to determine the rate of consumption of drugs in communities based on the residual level of drugs in wastewater influent - the consumption rates of illicit drugs in two similar sized communities in Western Kentucky were found significantly different. During schedule holidays such as Independence Day observation as well as non-festive events such as the Solar Eclipse – 2017, the rate of consumption of illicit drugs was significantly higher than in typical days. The consumption rate of methamphetamine and amphetamine were 2-4 folds higher than the conventional estimates. In this study, methamphetamine consumption rate (3.5-19% population) was higher than cocaine (0.29-3.2% population) contrary to a higher consumption rate of cocaine than methamphetamine in the Eastern United States. Overall, with the opioid epidemic considered currently as a national public health emergency in the USA, this approach of semi-real-time determination of drug consumption in communities will help authorities to determine hot spots of drug consumption, identify the effectiveness of new drug treatment and prevention, and identify susceptible areas/populations for policy development.

Spring Scholars Week 2018 Event

Sigma Xi Poster Competition

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Estimation of the Consumption of Illicit Drugs during Special Events in Two Communities in Western Kentucky, USA using Sewage Epidemiology

Conventional estimation of community consumption of drugs based on self-reported surveys, overdose/toxicological reports, and drug-related crime statistics are time- and cost-intensive, and typically underestimate the actual consumption. Based on sewage epidemiology - an alternative approach to determine the rate of consumption of drugs in communities based on the residual level of drugs in wastewater influent - the consumption rates of illicit drugs in two similar sized communities in Western Kentucky were found significantly different. During schedule holidays such as Independence Day observation as well as non-festive events such as the Solar Eclipse – 2017, the rate of consumption of illicit drugs was significantly higher than in typical days. The consumption rate of methamphetamine and amphetamine were 2-4 folds higher than the conventional estimates. In this study, methamphetamine consumption rate (3.5-19% population) was higher than cocaine (0.29-3.2% population) contrary to a higher consumption rate of cocaine than methamphetamine in the Eastern United States. Overall, with the opioid epidemic considered currently as a national public health emergency in the USA, this approach of semi-real-time determination of drug consumption in communities will help authorities to determine hot spots of drug consumption, identify the effectiveness of new drug treatment and prevention, and identify susceptible areas/populations for policy development.