Investigating the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Drug Consumption Measured by Wastewater-based Epidemiology

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries enforced either full or partial lockdowns to control outbreaks. These restrictions had a clear impact on people’s lifestyles and behaviours, and could lead to changes in consumption of multiple substances. These changes are expected to be reflected in the composition of the wastewater analysed. The goal of this research is to use wastewater analysis techniques to investigate and evaluate the impact of the pandemic on the consumption of drugs and alcohols that have adverse effects on public health. These substances include tobacco, illicit drugs, and pharmaceuticals used to treat mental disorders, including antidepressants. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate the trend of these health-related substances used during the COVID-19 period to determine the prevalence of substance abuse.


Project members

Shuo Chen

PhD Candidate - Submitted

Dr Richard Bade

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Ben Tscharke

Senior Research Fellow

A/Prof Phong Thai

Co-Theme Leader, Environmental Health Risk Assessment

Prof Jochen Mueller

Theme Leader, Emerging Environmental Health Risks