Sector: drugs

Posted: February 3, 2014
Source: The Gazette, Iowa City

Feb. 02 IOWA CITY
When a patient emerges from anesthesia after surgery, his nurse wants to make sure he doesn’t feel pain.

She gets a 1 milliliter syringe of hydromorphone, a generic form of Dilaudid, from a secure drug cabinet. She plans to give her patient .2 milliliter. Even patients with open hysterectomies some of the most painful procedures need just .4 milliliter.

She squirts the rest of the drug down the drain, where it can’t be abused by addicts but can pollute drinking water.

UI nurses disposed of an average 70 percent of each of 47,000 hydromorphone 1 milliliter syringes with waste in fiscal 2013.

Portions of nearly 250,000 doses of prescription medication were flushed down the drain or returned to the UI Hospitals and Clinics pharmacy to be wasted in the past two years, despite U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines against flushing drugs.
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Posted: January 24, 2014
Source: Mother Nature News.com

Scientists, increasingly able to detect minuscule amounts of compounds, have begun to test sewage to gauge communities’ use of illegal drugs.

By Brian Bienkowski for Environmental Health News

Dan Burgard, an associate chemistry professor, knew students tried to get an edge. But he didn’t know about the “study drug.”

“I was walking with a student,” Burgard said, “and they bemoaned that it wasn’t students cheating nowadays to get ahead, but that they were taking Adderall,” a potent amphetamine used to treat attention disorders.

Burgard had an idea: Let’s test the campus sewage. What he and his students at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., found confirmed their suspicions.

“The amphetamine levels go through the roof during finals,” Burgard said.

Scientists, increasingly able to detect minuscule amounts of compounds, have begun to test sewage to gauge communities’ use of illegal drugs. When people take drugs, they are either unchanged or the body turns them into metabolites before they’re excreted.
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