Sifting city water for illegal drugs

methThe conclusions may not be surprising, but the method of discovery is intriguing. Oregon State researchers sampled municipal wastewater before it was treated to create a map of drug excretion.

The study looked at 96 communities, representing about 65% of Oregon’s population. It measured levels of methamphetamine, MDMA (ecstasy), and BZE, a cocaine metabolite.

They found that the index loads of BZE were significantly higher in urban areas and below the level of detection in some rural areas. Methamphetamine was present in all municipalities, rural and urban. MDMA was at quantifiable levels in less than half of the communities, with a significant trend toward higher index loads in more urban areas.

The researchers expect their method can help map patterns of illegal drug use. Next step is to find the best method to get a reliable annual reading.

[Image: sashafatcat]

2 thoughts on “Sifting city water for illegal drugs”

  1. Well, its good to track it…how about doing something about it? Clearly, based on those tests, Oregon is failing miserably in that department.

  2. This is clear evidence that people will use narcotics drugs, and if safe, affordable, nonaddictive types aren’t available, people will go settle for variants of criminalized, unhealthy, expensive and addictive.

    Regimes of abolition and repression of distinct human urges do not work and in this case the abolition has done mostly the opposite. In fact, I think there is ground to legally sue proponents of abolition and persecution as causing most of societal damages and wrecked lives, as well as tacit attempts to “militarize” society and drain ludicrous amounts of money from collective means.

    I should be able to sue a politician when it becomes clear his failures contribute to ruining the society I live in. In fact – I think there is valid reason to suspect abolition activists with criminal involvement – there is motive and there is reward. Who is to say abolitionists aren’t in the pockets of billionaire crime lords who have a vested interest in maintaining prohibition?

    So a sane governments should immediately do precisely the reverse – start with legalizing the safest types and create sales points where you sell the substance in safe consumption rates, where you

    * register the users, but do guarantee some level of anonymity. If you do not guarantee a user the use won’t turn in a job interview ten years later, they will still resort to resale channels and black markets.

    * you can tax the end-product

    * can inform users of requirements and laws on how to use and (do not stick the needle in your EYE)

    * how not to use (users can be severely prosecuted for any damage they cause while high, crimes they commit or labor contracts they breach) – “sign this waiver here”.

    * you can create safe, comfortable zones for drug use – say, safe needles and a warm place to hang – with a broadscreen TV and soft music for heroin users, or an underground garage party for XTC users.

    * destroy the monstrous markets selling PCP, Crack, GHB or Methamphetamine.

    * medical agencies can target cases of addiction in about the same way you treat spread of infectious disease

    * you can weed out the significant portion of habitual users who are self-medicating for some kind of ‘existential discomfort’ (they suffer from depressions, mania, hallucinations, PTS, borderline, ADHD or some other undiagnosed ailment).

    * you can cut off the black markets by undercutting price

    * you can keep out minors (depending on country anything between 18 and 24)

    * you can weed out people likely to cause trouble (stealing) and give them social services – VERY cost effective

    * you can sell products that are valid alternatives to dangerous black market narcotics, contain additives to restrict excessive use or additives which mitigate side effects and damage – and you can provide a viable alternative

    This is one giant taboo, societally, which springs by and large from the heredetary blind spots of society – all people who are confronted with the reality of narcotics will at some conscious or conscious level ask themselves;

    – if this were available, might I get tempted to start using it when I have a bad spell ?

    – if this were available, how anguished would I feel when a loved one “who is of morally weaker character” starts using it ?

    – can I trust my fellow humans who use this to not harm my interests or safety ?

    – will it cause general/widespread poverty, more crime, aberrant behavior, decrease in real estate prices (etc) ?

    Most calls for abolition and criminalization are in fact sublimated calls of the individual to deny the realities of the substance (it is available, it is cheap, it DOES THE JOB). Drugs won’t go away by singing out loud LALALA.

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