SLU news

Drug usage measured in the sewage water from Uppsala

Published: 28 June 2021
Person in laboratory coat recieving a box. Picture from TV screen.

A researcher from the Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment have, on behalf of SVT Uppsala and UNT, analysed samples of the sewage water in Uppsala to estimate the illegal drug use in Uppsala.

Public service television company SVT Uppsala and the newspaper UNT are together conducting an investigation about the drug usage in Uppsala with focus on online sold drug 3-CMC. In this investigation they have asked associate professor Foon Yin Lai for assistance.

Foon Yin Lai has experience of analysing drug usage through sewage water and has been responsible for the drug analysis in the sewage water of Uppsala and Stockholm for the EMCDDA report since 2019. EMCDDA is a EU agency which measures drug usage and drug addiction in Europe. 

The sampling and analysis conducted on behalf of SVT Uppsala and UNT were made according to the guidelines of EMCDDA. The four drugs which were analysed were cocaine, amphetamine, MDMA (ecstasy) and methamphetamine. The use of the online sold drug 3-CMC is currently not possible to analyse through sewage water. One result of the analysis is that the usage of amphetamine was almost double in the studied week, 21 – 27 May this year, compared to the corresponding measurement in 2019.

The measurements from year 2019 have just (29 June 2021) been published in Scientific reports in an article with the title "Mining chemical information in Swedish wastewaters for simultaneous assessment of population consumption, treatment efficiency and environmental discharge of illicit drugs".

More information

SVT Uppsala’s article and video (in Swedish)

UNT’s article (in Swedish and restricted to subscribers)

UNT’s video (in Swedish and restricted to subscribers)

SLU news item from 2020 about the European analysis of sewage water in 2019 Wastewater analyses reveal drug use in Sweden and Europe”

Haalck, I., Löffler, P., Baduel, C. et al. 2021. Mining chemical information in Swedish wastewaters for simultaneous assessment of population consumption, treatment efficiency and environmental discharge of illicit drugs. Sci Rep 11, 13510 (2021).

EMCDDA is an abbreviation for The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

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