EMCDDA Scientific Paper Awards 2015

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction’s (EMCDDA) Scientific Paper Awards 2015 Ceremony took place on 23 September 2015.  SEWPROF Partner Christoph Ort, received an award for his paper:

Ort, C., Eppler, J. M., Scheidegger, A., Rieckermann, J., Kinzig, M., Sörgel, F., (2014),‘Challenges of surveying wastewater drug loads of small populations and generalizable aspects on optimizing monitoring design’, Addiction, 109, 3, p.472-481.

For more information about the awards, see the webpage.

SEWPROF Newsletter Issue 5 – June 2015

In this newsletter you will find, among other items, a short report on TC5 in Castellón and a special article about one of our researchers, Ana Causanilles Llanes.

Newsletter Issue 5 – June 2015

SEWPROF Newsletter Issue 4 – April 2015

The fourth SEWPROF newsletter features articles about researchers Bram Miserez and Alexander van Nuijs, as well as secondment reports and ‘get-to-know’ articles.  Enjoy!

Newsletter Issue 4 – April 2015

Wastewater analysis – New data multi-city study on the drug wastewater analysis released

New findings of the largest European study on illicit drugs in wastewater analysis were published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in Lisbon as part of the EMCDDA European Drug Report 2015 (EDR). The report presents the latest data on cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and cannabis levels obtained in wastewater of European cities measured by the European SCORE network. Findings are available here.

The purpose of the SCORE study was to assess geographical differences and temporal changes in illicit drug use in metropolitan settings across the region. It is the second, and most extensive, WWA application to date, covering multiple countries, over consecutive years (2011–14) and obtained according to a fixed protocol.

Wastewater analysis is a rapidly developing and novel scientific discipline with the potential for monitoring near-real-time population-level trends in illicit drug use. By sampling a known source of wastewater, such as a sewage influent to a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), scientists can now estimate the quantity of drugs used in a community by measuring the levels of illicit drugs and their metabolites excreted in urine.

From London to Nicosia and Stockholm to Lisbon, the study analysed daily wastewater samples in the catchment areas of WWTPs over a one-week period in April 2014. The results were compared to data collected in the years 2011-2013[1]. Wastewater from approximately 29 million people was analysed for traces of five illicit drugs: amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine.

The WWA results provide a valuable snapshot of the drug flow through the cities involved, revealing marked regional variations in drug use patterns. Trace of cocaine, for example, were higher in western and some southern European cities but lower in northern and eastern cities. Use of ecstasy revealed that The Netherlands, Norway, UK, Denmark and Australia showed the highest levels. Use of amphetamine, while relatively evenly distributed, showed the highest levels in the north and northwest of Europe. Methamphetamine use, generally low and traditionally concentrated in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Scandinavia, also appears to be substantial in Australia. And when weekly patterns of drug use were examined, cocaine and ecstasy levels rose sharply at weekends in most cities, while methamphetamine and cannabis use appeared to be more evenly distributed throughout the week.

The EMCDDA EDR 2014 concluded that ‘Wastewater analysis provides the possibility to collect and report measurements more quickly and regularly than is the current norm for national surveys’. The EDR 2015 shows that WWA indeed serves as a complement to other European drug surveillance methods, with the clear potential to shed extra light on drug use trends in Europe, including the use of new psychoactive substances.

[1] See Journal article: Spatial differences and temporal changes in illicit drug use in Europe quantified by wastewater analysis. Addiction 109 (2014) 1338-1352 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.12570/abstract;jsessionid=6E856F030CDBBCA46124C551C44896B5.f04t02

SEWPROF ITN meets in Castellon, Spain

SEWPROF Training Event, 29-30 April 2015


The participants were welcomed by Félix Hernández at University Jaume I in Castellón, Spain. After a brief introduction about the university and the program, the training school began.

Day 1 was focussed on method validation with an emphasis on chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry and included 6 lectures and 2 group activities.

Adrian Covaci (University of Antwerp) presented the validation of quantitative LC-MS/MS methods. Tania Portoles (University Jaume I) continued with the validation of qualitative methods, while Lubertus Bijlsma (University Jaume I) outlined the quantification, identification and confirmation of licit and illicit drugs in sewage analysis.

Jose Benito Quintana (University of Santiago de Compostela) gave a lecture on the estimation of limits of quantification and detection in sewage analysis and Juan V. Sancho (University Jaume I) provided examples of GC (APCI)-MS (MS/MS QqQ, QTOF MS) in environmental analytical chemistry. Finally, Leon Barron (King’s College London) explained the use of retention time prediction as a tool to improve the quality of large screening.

The afternoon sessions consisted of two group activities. Maria Ibáñez (University Jaume I) demonstrated how to treat HRMS data and Christoph Ruttkies (Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry) on the use of MetFrag and MetFusion software in the identification process of suspect and non-target analyses.

Day 2 was focussed on Quality Control and Quality Assurance.

Nuria Font (IPROMA) explained quality control in accredited environmental laboratories. Malcolm Reid (Norwegian Institute for Water Research, NIVA) and Pim de Voogt (KWR Watercycle Research Institute) explained the ongoing European-wide inter-laboratory testing. Félix Hernández (University Jaume I) explained about having a GLP-certified laboratory in a university environment. Ettore Zuccato (Mario Negri Institute) gave a lecture on ethical research guidelines

After the lectures, the current state and challenges in wastewater-based epidemiology discussed by a round table panel comprising John Ramsey (TICTAC), Kevin V. Thomas (Norwegian Institute for Water Research, NIVA), Juan V. Sancho (University Jaume I) and Sara Castiglioni (Mario Negri Institute).

In the afternoon an additional special session on opportunities for EU funding and access to the job market was made, with various members of start-up companies within ESPAITEC giving their initial experiences of the job market. Finally, Gillian Overend (University of Bath) gave a brief insight into EU and international funding opportunities.

SEWPROF Newsletter Issue 3, February 2015

Issue 3, edited by Janelle van Wel, provides updates on the SEWPROF project, wich a focus on Ann-Kathrin Ostermeyer and her work on biofilms in sewer systems.  In addition, several of the ESR/ERs tell about their experiences of their research secondments.

Newsletter Issue 3 – February 2015

PhD Award Congratulations to Dr Lubertus Bijlsma!

We are delighted to announce that Dr Lubertus Bijlsma, a member of SEWPROF based at the University Jaume I (UJI), in Castellon, Spain, was successfully awarded his PhD (cum laude) for his thesis: ‘The investigation of illicit drugs and their metabolites in water by liquid chromatography coupled to low and high resolution mass spectrometry”. Department of Physical and Analytical Chemistry, Research Institute for Pesticides and Water, University Jaume I, Castellon (Es).  Supervisors: Félix Hernández; Juan V. Sancho.