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

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…

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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.

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27556594/?utm_source=no_user_agent&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pubmed-2&utm_content=1854v2hhZntXmjLwJ2c8ICqk5dHszkjKaegUwgxvTg53irEIHf&fc=20200804212743&ff=20200812123339&v=2.11.5

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