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Wastewater treatment plant Zurich, Switzerland.

Eawag, Peter Penicka

Wastewater-based epidemiology – the concept and historical perspectives Illicit drug use directly and indirectly causes substantial health and social harm resulting in considerable economic cost (e.g. the prevention of drug use, the treatment and care of drug dependence, the suppression of organized crime, etc). Policymakers need accurate information so that they can make evidence-based decisions and assess the impact of interventions aimed at reducing drug use. The prevalence of drug use is traditionally estimated by methods such as

population surveys, monitoring drug-related criminality and hospital records. A common problem is that these methods are time-consuming, expensive and are known to be prone to self-report bias, due to the social taboo related to illicit drug use. Therefore the development of new complementary approaches is encouraged in order to obtain more objective, quantitative, fast, reliable and comparable data covering large populations. â–ş | 145 |

Environment Industry Magazine - Issue 33  

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