Application of wastewater-based epidemiology to investigate stimulant drug, alcohol and tobacco use in Lithuanian communities

Tim Boogaerts, Lina Jurgelaitiene, Catalina Dumitrascu, Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern, Andrew Kannan, Frederic Been, Erik Emke, Pim de Voogt, Adrian Covaci, Alexander L.N. van Nuijs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


WBE was applied to evaluate illicit drug (i.e. amphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and methamphetamine), alcohol and tobacco use in three Lithuanian cities in 2018 and 2019. Considerable concentrations of methamphetamine and MDMA were found in the three locations, suggesting a specific Lithuanian consumption pattern. Yet, unexpected high concentrations of amphetamine (>4 μg/L) were detected in two samples of Kaunas in 2018. Through the use of chiral analysis and non-target and suspect drug precursor compound screening, these extreme values were confirmed to be the result of direct disposal of amphetamine in the sewers. Furthermore, substantial alcohol use was measured in the three investigated catchment populations of Lithuania with almost 4 standard drinks/day/inhabitant aged 15+ on average in 2019. For tobacco, an average of 5.6 cigarettes/day/inhabitant aged 15+ in 2019 was reported with large discrepancies between WBE figures and sales data, potentially highlighting illegal trade of tobacco products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145914
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date19 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Feb 2021


  • Dumping events
  • Geotemporal resolution
  • Lithuania
  • Substance use
  • Wastewater-based epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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