Q. What can public health officials do with high risk substance wastewater data?
Biobot’s high risk substance wastewater data improves data-driven programming and public messaging campaigns within communities. Some examples include:
Alerting public health officials of increases in circulation of high risk substances in the community.
- This community-level data allows community partners to notify people who use substances of increased risk, for example, if there are increases in fentanyl identified in a community. Public health officials can simultaneously implement programs (mobile syringe services, fentanyl test strips, supervised injection sites) to mitigate the impact of these more dangerous substances during the period of heightened circulation and elevated risk.
More effectively targeting treatment and prevention resources to areas of highest use
- For example, data can be used to justify naloxone distribution through installing naloxone vending machines, rerouting mobile naloxone delivery, increasing community naloxone distribution, or equipping first responders in areas of greatest need.
- Placing prescription take back / pill drop boxes in community pharmacies in high-usage areas.
- Evaluating the effectiveness of already existing public health interventions by providing complete community data.
- Confirming anecdotal data on substance use patterns to provide data-driven expenditure justification.
- Alerting public health officials of increases in circulation of high risk substances in the community.
Q. Will this data be shared with or used by law enforcement?
Our mission is to build a global wastewater intelligence system that supports proactive public health for the benefit of the communities we serve, and beyond. While it is up to each community to design how they use the data, traditionally law enforcement's access to the data is for their role in local public health responses to high risk substance, substance use disorder because they are often first responders to overdose incidents. However, because WBE data is naturally aggregated and anonymized (see above), law enforcement or others with data access cannot use it to identify individuals.
To read more about Biobot’s principles for ethical wastewater intelligence practice, please visit our Biobot Code of Ethics.