Wastewater could hold the key to battling drug use

Jan. 27, 2014

TACOMA, Wash. — Researchers in Washington are following a world-wide trend of wastewater testing for drug use.

TACOMA, Wash. — Researchers in Washington state believe that wastewater testing may hold the key to tackling drug problems in the United States and around the world, according to an article from The Georgia Straight.

Dan Burgard, an associate chemistry professor at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, recently performed an experiment where he and his students tested campus sewage; they found that amphetamine levels spike during finals, the article reported.

Wastewater testing is an increasingly popular way for scientists to gauge communities' use of illegal drugs, noted the article.

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“If you can look at drug trends through wastewater, you can have a conversation with your community and try to make changes. And then, testing the wastewater after such changes, you can see if you’re having an impact,” said Caleb Banta-Green, an assistant professor of public health at the University of Washington.

Sewage tests have been used across Europe and in Canada to study drug use, noted the article.

Read the full article here.