Just Wastewater Drug Surveillance in Kentucky

Just Wastewater Drug Surveillance in Kentucky

Original Release Date: July 5, 2024

In episode three of our Community-based Solutions for Substance Use Challenges season, Just Science sits down with Dr. Chris Delcher, Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science and Director of the Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy at the University of Kentucky, to discuss how his team tracks community drug use through wastewater analysis. 

Much like analyzing a urine sample to determine what drugs an individual is using, analyzing wastewater from a community offers insight into drug trends across an entire region of people. The NIJ-funded weTEST program allows for the collection and analysis of wastewater from rest areas and truck stops in Kentucky to track current drug trends in a timely manner. Listen along as Dr. Delcher discusses his inspiration for using wastewater to monitor drug use, the sometimes-messy process of collecting wastewater samples, and how scientists approach ethical considerations that come with collecting data from wastewater systems.  

This Just Science season is supported, in part, by RTI Award No. 15PNIJ-21-GK-02192-MUMU, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, and by RTI Award No. 15PBJA-23-GK-02250-COAP, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Both are agencies within the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.  

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Episode Citation

Mullen, L. & Delcher, C. (2024, July 5). Just Science. Just Wastewater Drug Surveillance in Kentucky. [Audio podcast episode]. National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence.

Guest Biography

Dr. Chris Delcher is an epidemiologist, Associate Professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky and Director of the Institute for Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy. His research involves finding new methods for monitoring the on-going substance use crisis in the US and beyond. 

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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