Title
Cocaine and metabolites in waste and surface water across Belgium Cocaine and metabolites in waste and surface water across Belgium
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Biology
Pharmacology. Therapy
Source (journal)
Environmental pollution. - London
Volume/pages
157(2009) :1 , p. 123-129
ISSN
0269-7491
ISI
000261941800017
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Cocaine abuse, a growing social problem, is currently estimated from population surveys, consumer interviews and crime statistics. A new approach based on the analysis of cocaine (COC) and metabolites, benzoylecgonine (BE) and ecgonine methyl ester (EME), in water samples was applied to 28 rivers and 37 waste water treatment plants in Belgium using solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. While EME was undetectable, COC and BE were detectable with concentrations ranging from <1 to 753 ng/L and <1 to 2258 ng/L, respectively. BE concentrations were employed to calculate the local amount of abused cocaine. The highest values (up to 1.8 g/day cocaine per 1000 inhabitants) were found in large cities and during weekends. The estimation of cocaine abuse through water analysis can be executed on regular basis without cooperation of patients. It also gives clear geographical information, while prevention campaigns can easily be implemented and evaluated. Cocaine consumption can be evaluated through analysis of waste and surface water.
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