Survey of drug waste emission pathways and relevance for the drinking water sector

The Netherlands has a thriving illegal industry for the production of synthetic drugs such as amphetamine (speed), MDMA (XTC) and “designer drugs”. It releases all kinds of waste materials, which are often dumped in nature spots, discharged into surface water or into the sewer system, or mixed with manure or with normal commercial waste.

In this way, reagents, waste substances and other residues from drug production can enter the environment. This trend analysis looked at what information is available and what is needed to define the risks for the water sector. This included drawing up an overview of the most commonly produced drugs, an estimate of the amount produced, and an overview describing the possible emission pathways of drug waste. Partners were also identified for the detection of drug waste and laboratories.