No sewage treatment plant in the country was free of ‘meth’

Samples from sewage treatment plants nationwide were analyzed토토사이트 for residual narcotics over the past three years, and methamphetamine (meth) was consistently detected everywhere.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) announced the results of the ‘Sewage Epidemiology-based Illicit Drug Use Behavior’ survey for the past three years (2020-2022) on the 8th. KFDA has been conducting this survey every year since 2020.

The sewage epidemiology-based survey analyzes the type and amount of residual narcotics by collecting samples from sewage treatment plants, and estimates the prevalence of narcotics use in relation to the population by considering the sewage flow rate and the number of people in the sewage collection area. It is also used in Australia and the European Union (EU) as it can identify the types of drugs actually used without detection by investigative and enforcement agencies.

KFDA selected at least one sewage treatment plant in each of the 17 cities and provinces across the country to cover more than 50 percent of the total population. Seven types of illegal drugs were investigated, including methamphetamine, amphetamine, ecstasy (MDMA), cocaine, LSD, methadone, and THC-COOH (cannabinoid metabolites), which have been confirmed to enter and be used in Korea. The results of the survey showed that five of the seven illicit drugs were detected at least once in the 34 sewage treatment plants surveyed for the third consecutive year.

In particular, methamphetamine was detected in all 34 sewage treatment plants. Meth was also the most prevalent drug in terms of estimated use in all regions. The average estimated daily use of meth per 1,000 people was around 20 milligrams. Estimated meth use was relatively high in port and metropolitan areas. Estimated use in port areas such as Busan, Incheon, and Ulsan was 31.63 mg, higher than in non-port areas (18.26 mg), while estimated use in metropolitan areas such as Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon, Ulsan, and Gyeonggi was 26.52 mg, higher than in non-metropolitan areas (13.14 mg).

The estimated amount of ecstasy used increased each year, with 1.71 mg in 2020, 1.99 mg in 2021, and 2.58 mg in 2022. The number of detected sewage treatment plants also tended to increase, with 19 out of 34 in 2020, 27 in 2021, and 27 in 2022.

However, KFDA explained that the analysis of the estimated amount of use is somewhat limited due to influences such as rainfall, the amount of drugs disposed of in sewage, and metabolites of licensed drugs.

KFDA will share the findings with international organizations such as the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and provide them to domestic investigation and enforcement agencies.