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IPFS News Link • Drugs and Medications

Real-Time Wastewater Analysis Shows What Drugs Are Being Used Where

When people take drugs, they end up in the water, either unchanged or broken down into specific metabolites. Increasingly, water can be tested to gauge how much drug use is going on in an area, and a new study shows that the level of illegal drugs being used in a community can be tested in real time, and potentially applied to help police narcotic use. 

Before the advent of this type of testing, dubbed "sewage epidemiology," drug usage was generally estimated by surveys, crime statistics, narcotics seizures and other self-reported information. But by analyzing the amount and type of drugs in wastewater, as done in this study, researchers can more accurately detect usage rates, find hotspots for abuse, and potentially measure the effectiveness of police countermeasures.