Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gauging local illicit drug use in real time could help police fight abuse

Date:
June 11, 2014
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The war on drugs could get a boost with a new method that analyzes sewage to track levels of illicit drug use in local communities in real time. The new study could help law enforcement identify new drug hot spots and monitor whether anti-drug measures are working.

The war on drugs could get a boost with a new method that analyzes sewage to track levels of illicit drug use in local communities in real time. The new study, a first-of-its-kind in the U.S., was published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology and could help law enforcement identify new drug hot spots and monitor whether anti-drug measures are working.

Kurunthachalam Kannan and Bikram Subedi note that to date, most methods to estimate drug use in the U.S. are based on surveys, crime statistics and drug seizures by law enforcement. But much illegal drug use happens off the radar. To better approximate usage, scientists have been turning to wastewater. Like a lot of other compounds from pharmaceuticals and personal care products to pesticides, illegal drugs and their metabolic byproducts also persist in sewage. In Europe, a number of studies have been done to see how well wastewater treatment plants are removing illicit drugs from sludge before treated water is released into the environment. But until now, no study in the U.S. had looked at this, likely leading to underestimates of abuse. Kannan and Subedi wanted to form a more complete picture of drug use, so they studied levels of illicit drugs at two wastewater treatment plants in Albany, New York.

Surprisingly, the scientists found cocaine in 93 percent of all untreated samples. Levels of byproducts from opioids and hallucinogenic drugs were also detected. They found that the wastewater treatment plants didn't remove all illicit drugs before releasing water back into the environment -- and eventually into drinking water. But, the researchers suggest, tracking drugs in wastewater could help policymakers and law enforcement understand patterns of abuse and better fight it.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bikram Subedi, Kurunthachalam Kannan. Mass Loading and Removal of Select Illicit Drugs in Two Wastewater Treatment Plants in New York State and Estimation of Illicit Drug Usage in Communities through Wastewater Analysis. Environmental Science & Technology, 2014; 140606113026003 DOI: 10.1021/es501709a

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Gauging local illicit drug use in real time could help police fight abuse." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611112824.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2014, June 11). Gauging local illicit drug use in real time could help police fight abuse. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611112824.htm
American Chemical Society. "Gauging local illicit drug use in real time could help police fight abuse." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140611112824.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins