Presence of Illicit Drugs in the Sarno River (Campania Region, Italy)


The presence of illicit drugs and their metabolites in surface waters has to be considered a new type of hazard, still unknown, for both the human health and the aquatic ecosystem, due to the potent pharmacological activities of all the illicit drugs. Our research was aimed at evaluating the presence of illicit drugs in the Sarno River (Campania region, Italy), crossing a densely populated area, the basin of the Sarno River, one of the largest and most important economic areas in Campania region, famous for the presence of zones with high landscape-environmental value. The drugs selected for this study were the most used in Campania region. The presence of illicit drugs in surface water was analyzed by a selective multi-residue assay based on liquid chromatographytandem mass spectrometry. The analysis showed the presence of all the illicit drugs investigated: cocaine and its main metabolites (benzoylecgonine, nor-benzoylecgonine), morphine, THC-COOH and codeine; cocaine was the most abundant illicit drug. The presence of illicit drugs and their metabolites in the Sarno River suggests new potential risk for the basin’s inhabitants, using water in the food chain, via field irrigation and animal feed, and for the health of the aquatic fauna.

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Maddaloni, M. , Castiglioni, S. , Zuccato, E. , Gay, F. , Capaldo, A. , Laforgia, V. , Valiante, S. , Falco, M. and Guida, M. (2014) Presence of Illicit Drugs in the Sarno River (Campania Region, Italy). Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 5, 755-761. doi: 10.4236/pp.2014.57085.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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