Science and Nature

Opioid ranges in US wastewater spiked for the length of the early pandemic months

By Chris Stokel-Walker

Pharmacy label for prescription hydrocodone pills. Hydrocodone is an opioid derived from codeine and thiamine. Hydrocodone is an orally active narcotic analgesic (pain reliever) and antitussive (cough suppressant)

Ranges of hydrocodone, an opioid painkiller, increased in sewage in some US states for the length of the covid-19 pandemic


Use of some illicit medicine lowered in the US for the length of the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, while prescription opioid use skyrocketed, in step with an prognosis of wastewater.

Bikram Subedi and his colleagues at Murray Whisper College in Kentucky analysed wastewater gathered from two communities in western Kentucky and northerly Tennessee between March and July 2020.

Wastewater is water flushed down bogs and sinks from properties that finally ends up at a sewage therapy plant. …

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