And we thought sewers were only good for handling waste products. It turns out that sewers do much more good than just sending your bodily fluids downstream. Sewers are also becoming a barometer to measure the drug use of a community at large.
A chemistry professor from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington had heard that students today were becoming fond of taking drugs to help them perform better academically. He decided to find out for himself whether that was true or not, and you’ve got to give the man props because what he did goes well beyond the line of duty. He, along with some other students, decided to test some of the sewage that came from the campus. I don’t even want to know what the process of obtaining the samples entailed, but it was worth it in the end. The results showed that students were definitely consuming large amounts of amphetamines, especially around the time of final exams.
Talk About A Dirty Job…
While wastewater tests aren’t all that uncommon around the world, many people fear that police and scientists are overstepping their bounds when it comes to testing sewage without warrants. Indeed, drug use via sewage has been studied all over without the use of warrants and the results are very surprising. And, while most of the testing has taken place in Europe, some samples from America have been taken as well.
This brings up a very important question – when do our bodily fluids cease to be our own? When we flush the toilet? When they travel to the next county? Should police be able to test any sewage sample without some kind of a warrant? As has been pointed out, while these studies do reveal drug use, they don’t exactly reveal who exactly it is who’s using the drugs.
Who had any idea that people were testing the sewage to study drug use?
[Image via matadornetwork]