Developing a method for site-specific wastewater analysis: Implications for prisons and other agencies with an interest in illicit drug use

Jeremy Prichard, Christoph Ort, Raimondo Bruno, Coral Gartner, Paul Kirkbride, Wayne Hall, Foon Yin Lai, Steve Carter, Phong Thai, Jochen Mueller, Anna Elizabeth Salinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In recent years techniques developed by environmental scientists to measure pharmacological pollutants in waterways have been adapted to analyse traces of illicit drugs. In Europe and North America samples from public sewerage systems have been studied and a wide variety of illicit drugs have been identified. The findings have been used to estimate the prevalence of illicit drug use in the general community. This article discusses the potential for site-specific wastewater analysis (SSWA), which concerns the study of samples from specific locations, such as prisons. It explains how this might be done and the potential benefits SSWA could provide for prison systems. The article also explores contributions that SSWA could make in the sectors of health, criminal justice and law enforcement and opens up discussion of the ethical and legal implications of this developing area of science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Law, Information and Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


Cite this