Characterising differences between self-reported and wastewater-identified drug use at two consecutive years of an Australian music festival.

Puljević, Cheneal, Tscharke, Benjamin ORCID: 0000-0002-3292-3534, Wessel, Ellen Leslie, Francis, Cameron, Verhagen, Rory, O'Brien, Jake W, Bade, Richard, Nadarajan, Dhayaalini, Measham, Fiona ORCID: 0000-0002-9322-1931, Stowe, MJ
et al (show 11 more authors) (2024) Characterising differences between self-reported and wastewater-identified drug use at two consecutive years of an Australian music festival. The Science of the total environment, 921. 170934-.

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<h4>Background</h4>In the context of drug prohibition, potential adulteration and variable purity pose additional health risks for people who use drugs, with these risks often compounded by the outdoor music festival environment. Ahead of the imminent implementation of drug checking services in Queensland, Australia, this study aims to characterise this problem using triangulated survey and wastewater data to understand self-reported and detected drug use among attendees of a multi-day Queensland-based music festival in 2021 and 2022.<h4>Methods</h4>We administered an in-situ survey focusing on drug use at the festival to two convenience samples of 136 and 140 festival attendees in 2021 and 2022 respectively. We compared survey findings to wastewater collected concurrently from the festival's site-specific wastewater treatment plant, which was analysed using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry.<h4>Results</h4>Most survey respondents (82 % in 2021, 92 % in 2022) reported using or intending to use an illicit drug at the festival. Some respondents reported potentially risky drug use practices such as using drugs found on the ground (2 % in 2021, 4 % in 2022). Substances detected in wastewater but not surveys include MDEA, mephedrone, methylone, 3-MMC, alpha-D2PV, etizolam, eutylone, and N,N-dimethylpentylone.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Many substances detected in wastewater but not self-reported in surveys likely represent substitutions or adulterants. These findings highlight the benefits of drug checking services to prevent harms from adulterants and provide education on safer drug use practices. These findings also provide useful information on socio-demographic characteristics and drug use patterns of potential users of Queensland's future drug checking service.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans, Substance-Related Disorders, Holidays, Music, Australia, Self Report, Wastewater
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law and Social Justice
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2024 09:35
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2024 09:35
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.170934
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