The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) today published the results of the international survey on the use of illicit drugs SCORE 2021, in which Slovenia was included for the fifth time, thanks to the researchers from the Department of Environmental Science of the Jožef Stefan Institute, led by prof. dr. Ester Heath.
L1-9191 - Illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco: wastewater based epidemiology, treatment efficiency and vulnerability assessment of water catchments
Illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco: wastewater based epidemiology, treatment efficiency and vulnerability assessment of water catchments, 1. 7. 2018 - 30. 06. 2022, Tina Kosjek
Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is an innovative approach to estimating exposure to external substances in defined populations by analyzing human metabolic excretion products (biomarkers) in wastewater. WBE can deliver complementary information concerning the use of different substances of abuse. In Europe, this kind of research has been ongoing since 2010, however in Slovenia these studies are yet to be performed. This project will correct this by determining selected biomarkers of illicit and licit drugs in influents from WWTP servicing five important Slovenian urban populations. It will compare the results with sale, seizure and consumption data and the findings used to assess the community health and a comparison will be made with WBE data from European cities. In addition to illicit and licit drugs, new psychoactive substances will be identified to aid in their early detection in order to minimize their potential harms, trafficking and to support law enforcement. To minimize uncertainties in WBE, we will apply stable isotope analysis to differentiate between compounds having the same chemical formula, but different isotopic composition, (parent compound/metabolite) or different synthesis/production routes, since stable isotope composition differs according to the source of production. This approach is novel but has the potential to increase greatly the accuracy of drug estimation in WBE.
Researchers: Tina Kosjek, Heath Ester, Atanasova Nataša, Blaznik Urška, Gazvoda Martin, Gornik Tjaša, Hočevar Grom Ada, Kocman David, Kolbl Sabina, Košmrlj Janez, Ogrinc Nives, Potočnik Doris, Žigon Dušan
SCORE EMCDDA za leto 2020
Rezultati projekta odmevajo v medijih.
Ocena uporabe prepovedanih drog v šestih slovenskih mestih v letu 2019
River knows what you were doing last Thursday
News article in "Delo - Znanost" by Ester Heath
Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is an innovative approach to estimating exposure to external substances in defined populations by analyzing human metabolic excretion products (biomarkers) in wastewater. For example, it can deliver complementary information concerning substance abuse. This project has contributed to determining biomarkers of illicit and licit drugs in influents from WWTP servicing six Slovenian municipalities. It also compared the results with the sale, seizure and consumption data and the findings to community health data and WBE data from other European cities. It has also identified new psychoactive, aiding in their early detection and reducing any potential harm. To minimize uncertainties in WBE, we applied stable isotope and enantiomer analysis to differentiate between compounds having the same chemical formula but different isotopic/stereochemical characteristics (parent compound/metabolite) and different synthesis/production routes. This approach is novel and has significantly increased drug estimation accuracy in WBE.
The removal of licit and illicit drug residues during wastewater treatment (WWT) was also evaluated, and the fate and effects of such compounds in the environment since WWTP effluents represent a significant source of these compounds. Accordingly, six Slovene WWT plants with different configurations and sizes have been studied, and removal efficiencies evaluated. New knowledge is essential for Slovenian WWTPs, allowing comparison with globally available data for WWT technologies and facilitating their improvements. We also attempted to determine concentrations of these substances in receiving waters, where they are present in sub ng/L levels, by classic approach and using novel active-passive samplers. The outcomes of this task have contributed to evaluating their occurrence in environmental waters, and the development of new samplers will feed directly into performing more reliable WBE. To get an insight into the ecotoxicity of identified biomarkers, we applied the ECOSAR (Ecological Structure Activity Relationship) software and in vivo toxicity tests with algae. The obtained information has filled gaps in our understanding of selected drug effects, harms and risks towards aquatic organisms and stimulated research addressing chronic effects of mixtures of compounds at environmental levels. Finally, the project addressed the vulnerability of the water catchment by evaluating catchment-specific characteristics that influence surface-groundwater interactions and temporal-spatial parameters that affect their levels in aqueous environments. As a case study, the interactions between surface and groundwater in the Ljubljansko polje aquifer were modelled to assess groundwater vulnerability.
The project resulted in 17 papers in scientific journals with high impact factors, with six manuscripts under revision/preparation and numerous academic and public presentations.
FULL FINAL REPORT (in SLO)
MAIN SCIENTIFIC PAPERS:
1. VEROVŠEK, Taja, HEATH, David John, HEATH, Ester. Enantiomeric profiling of amphetamines in wastewater using chiral derivatisation with gas chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric detection. Science of the total environment. [in press] 2022, 15 str. ISSN 0048-9697. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155594. [COBISS.SI-ID 106116355],
2. VEROVŠEK, Taja, KRIZMAN MATASIĆ, Ivona, HEATH, David John, HEATH, Ester. Data in brief : drug use data for slovenian educational institutions using wastewater analysis. Data in brief. vol. 39, 2021, str. 107614-1-107614-15. ISSN 2352-3409. DOI: 10.1016/j.dib.2021.107614. [COBISS.SI-ID 86403331],
3. VEROVŠEK, Taja, KRIZMAN MATASIĆ, Ivona, HEATH, David John, HEATH, Ester. Investigation of drugs of abuse in educational institutions using wastewater analysisis. Science of the total environment. 2021, vol. 799, str. 150013-1-150013-10, ilustr. ISSN 0048-9697. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150013. [COBISS.SI-ID 78501891],
4. CASTIGLIONI, Sara Michela, HEATH, Ester, et al. New psychoactive substances in several European populations assessed by wastewater-based epidemiology. Water research. 1 May 2021, vol. 195, str. 1-9, graf. prikazi, tabele. ISSN 0043-1354. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2021.116983. [COBISS.SI-ID 53944835],
5. VEROVŠEK, Taja, KRIZMAN MATASIĆ, Ivona, HEATH, David John, HEATH, Ester. Site- and event-specific wastewater-based epidemiology : current status and future perspectives. Trends in environmental analytical chemistry. [in press] 2020, 74 str. ISSN 2214-1588. DOI: 10.1016/j.teac.2020.e00105. [COBISS.SI-ID 31196419],
6. VEROVŠEK, Taja, HEATH, David John, HEATH, Ester. Occurrence, fate and determination of tobacco (nicotine) and alcohol (ethanol) residues in waste- and environmental waters. Trends in environmental analytical chemistry. [in press] 2022, str. e00164-1-e00164-20, ilustr. ISSN 2214-1588. DOI: 10.1016/j.teac.2022.e00164. [COBISS.SI-ID 106253315]