Significant Spike on Syringe Use and the Drug Consumption During COVID-19 Pandemic

Project Abstract

Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) provides excess to sterile needles/syringes free of cost to facilitate the safe disposal of used needles/syringes as well as to minimize the blood- borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis A, and hepatitis C that potentially result from the shared-syringes. In Kentucky, 54 counties are among the most vulnerable 220 counties across the U.S. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant rise in the use of syringes in SEP counties in Kentucky. In this study, 40 drugs of potential abuse were monitored in municipal wastewater from one of the SEP counties in Kentucky for 5 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and correlated to the use of syringes. There is a statistically significant correlation between the overall per-capita drug consumption (stimulants: methamphetamine/cocaine and opioids) in a rural SEP county and the use of the syringes. Our results indicate the increased injection of drugs of abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Conference name (full, no abbreviations): American Chemical Society National Meeting Dates: August 22-26 Sponsoring body: Environmental Chemistry Division of American Chemical Society Conference website:

Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology








Bikram Subedi, PhD

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology

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