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Drug officials may examine wastewater to identify dangerous substances in circulation

HSE drug officials are looking at examining wastewater and used syringes as part of a wider plan to warn users of any dangerous substances in circulation.

The HSE is also trying to improve information flows from hospitals to gather data on substances ingested by people brought to emergency departments.

In addition, the health agency wants to introduce a pilot drug checking system to gather information on the types of substances in the market and being taken by users and potential users.

Speaking at a webinar on drug trafficking, Nicki Killeen of the HSE National Social Inclusion Office said these measures come against a background both of increasing purity of ecstasy and cocaine but also other chemicals often being sold as ecstasy (MDMA).

Wastewater analysis is conducted extensively across the EU and in the last mass testing in 2020, 82 cities across 18 member states took part.

Ireland has yet to become part of this system, which enables scientists to estimate types of drugs consumed, how much and fluctuations in weekly patterns.

Drug checking is used in many EU countries and the HSE last September recommended a limited pilot checking system which would allow scientists to analyse drugs that have been anonymously dropped into amnesty bins at festivals.


Source: Cormac O'Keeffe, Irish Examiner, 2nd February 2022

Posted by on 02/03 at 09:12 AM in
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