They're Drug Testing Our Sewage

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I'll spare you the excrement jokes and just let this idea speak for itself:
Environmental scientists are beginning to use an unsavory new tool -- raw sewage -- to paint an accurate portrait of drug abuse in communities. Like one big, citywide urinalysis, tests at municipal sewage plants in many areas of the United States and Europe, including Los Angeles County, have detected illicit drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.

Law enforcement officials have long sought a way to come up with reliable and verifiable calculations of narcotics use, to identify new trends and formulate policies. Surveys, the backbone of drug-use estimates, are only as reliable as the people who answer them. But sewage does not lie. [Los Angeles Times]

Admittedly, assuming the methodology is sound, this appears to be a breakthrough technique for obtaining accurate drug use demographics. And it's already beginning to cast doubt on existing data, not surprisingly to the effect of indicating that drug use has been widely underreported:

The scientists were even able to use sewage to estimate individual use and weekly trends. For instance, they estimated that people in Milan used twice as much cocaine, about 35 grams per person per year, than Italy's government surveys had suggested.

That's kind of neat, I suppose, that they can figure out stuff like that. But ya know what? If our drug policy weren't a raging nightmare, drug testing raw sewage wouldn’t be even remotely necessary. Seriously, the moment the government finds itself digging around in our sewage to figure out what drugs we take, it becomes completely clear that we've screwed up our approach to drugs beyond belief. It shouldn’t even be necessary to formulate arguments as to why this is not the behavior of a healthy society. I mean, really. They're drug testing sewage. What's wrong with them?

All of this is symbolic of the utter lack of information and knowledge about drug use that we've achieved in the course of our abundantly destructive attempts to control this very behavior. Nothing could be easier than determining down to the bottle or butt exactly how many Heinekens™ or Newport Lights™ are consumed by the population, but in order to study marijuana use, we must collect frothing f#%king sewage into test tubes, mix in some noxious chemicals, and run the results through some mindbendingly complex algorithm?

Clueless and reeking of poo, the champions of our failed drug control crusade stand before us straight-faced and swear that everything is going according to plan.
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But because waste also can

But because waste also can be tested in local sewers, questions about privacy have been raised.

"You could take this down to a community, a street, even a house," Daughton said. "You can do all kinds of stuff with this. It's sort of unlimited."

So, how long before they start using this to get warrants to send SWAT into more homes? Or maybe mass raids of entire high schools?

But actually, they started looking at this last year. One of the things they noticed was that the upscale communities showed lots of cocaine. Shocking, huh?

I guess one good thing could come out of this. It could provide more proof that the drug war doesn't work. Of course there's plenty of that already, and it hasn't stopped it.

Data Problems for Sewer Mining

The problem with sewer mining is that it gives no accurate or specific numbers for individual drug use.  For instance, it can’t distinguish between a small group of hardcore heroin addicts and a much larger group of people who might sample the drug once or twice a month on alternate weekdays.

Sampling individual home effluent would be impractical.  People would start pissing on their front lawns.  Or maybe they’ll piss on your lawn if they don’t have one of their own.

Given the ONDCP’s compulsive aversion to accurate data, truth, justice, the American way, and a few other things; watch for the ONDCP to error on the side of the highest numbers of addicts while discounting any discussion of the unusually small individual dosages required for each case of addiction.

Giordano

It just determines consumption

However, if you happen to live in a city with the highest consumption of heroin then you probably have both the highest number of casual and addicted users and I probably would not want to live there.

I'm sure many cities, like San Diego and Los Angeles County, do not want to participate in this program because of their fear of being ranked. Nobody wants to be the heroin, coke or ganja capital of the nation or their region or make CNN's Annual Top 10 list.

Though, this citywide drug testing should be required for every city that gets federal funds for drug programs. Taxpayers have a right to know what works and what doesn't.

U. S. Government Seeks Medieval Solution to Sewage Disposal

Granted, taxpayers have a right to know what works, but there are different methods by which that goal might be achieved.

I want to avoid a piss-a-thon or something worse in urban neighborhoods engaged in by people seeking to avoid detection for their drug use.  And we really have to act on this.  Because this is just like global warming.  People won’t believe that an American excrement crisis looms on the horizon until it finally happens.

There are rights to privacy involved in all this.  If what comes out of my body or anyone else’s body isn’t private, then what the f*#k is??

The only way to confront science is with better science. And, as always, science has an answer to the drug warrior opposition, whether they like it or not.

The best way to obliterate an organic compound such as a drug metabolite is to treat it with an alkali.  Lye dissolves oils and breaks down nearly everything organic, including complex organic compounds such as drug metabolites.  Alkaline fluid treatment is even being touted as an ecologically friendly alternative to cremation for disposing of human remains (no carbon dioxide output).

So that’s it.  A little bit of lye-based cleanser in the old toilet bowl each day makes the narcs go away.  And it keeps your toilet bowl disinfected, shiny and bright.

Giordano

yet another reason why Taxpayers should not pay for the War on D

They already pay dearly and "wars" of this type never work. partly because the government tends to play both sides of the "war" (supplying drugs or providing capitol to drug lords, Iran Contra and many other programs since) as well as imprison the wrong people for being "users".

Here's a first: An excuse not to drug test from our govt

The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County don't test for illicit drugs because Drug Enforcement Administration permits to handle controlled substances would be needed, said supervising engineer Ann Heil.

"It's too hard to test for it. We can't have morphine lying around to calibrate equipment," she said.

Okay, maybe I'm misunderstanding but there's a whole drug testing industry that performs this every day. Is somebody worried the peaceful and quiet Beverly Hills will turn out to be the coke snorting capital of Los Angeles County, instead of low-income areas like Compton?

Mandatory random feces testing

Can they test #2 for traces of drugs too?

The war on drugs is a complete failure

The drug tests results will prove the war on drugs is a complete failure. This will lead to true control through legalization.

I know...

What if we decriminalize and regulate all drugs .Then we could have a very accurate way of coming to conclusions based on figures,without resorting to the sewer. Too easy...?Sheesh!

Nah, they have too much fun this way

This is just the natural extension of the cops rooting through people's garbage looking for evidence so they can get a warrant. That was apparently a gateway tactic which led them on to harder sh*t. Now they're hooked on it.

Regulated markets send the wrong message to kids.

Criminal-controlled markets send the right message.

Drug content in sewage ≠ drug use

Although measuring the percentage of any given drug in raw sewage may be possible there is no way for those doing the measuring to determine if what they are measuring is actually the result of drug use. It could just as easily represent people flushing substantial amounts of the measured drug. Surely for every tiny amount added to the sewage from a urinating user there is a much more substantial amount of unused drug flushed by people who have decided to quit who are eliminating their personal stash, or dealers flushing evidence to escape detection and arrest, or parents/lovers/friends flushing the stash of a loved one they have discovered, as an act of imagined love for a user or simply to destroy the drugs they have found or any of several other reasons drugs get flushed, unused, down the drain. What if several of the sewage employees "had a party" and raised the levels in the sewage by their common additions to the effluent, just before the scientists arrived to take samples? (Can you imagine working in a sewage plant if you weren't on drugs?)

The reality is the farther one away from an actual event one takes measurements, the less accurate the data will be and the less accurate the conclusion that may be drawn from the data will be. Measuring drug levels in city sewage plants is only an indication that certain levels of drugs are in the sewage. Any pronouncements about what those levels actually represent is almost entirely speculation It's simple logic. But drug prohibition fanatics have little interest in logic.

This is just another example of how prohibitionist types will use any means, no matter how ridiculous, to try to force their values on others. It didn't work during alcohol prohibition, it's not working during drug prohibition. You cannot compel people to only seek happiness in the ways prohibitionist believe they should.

Flushing Drugs Being Measured

They are actually testing for metabolized narcotics - the compounds after they have been transformed in the body - therefore, drug dumping shouldn't effect the concentration since there would be not metabolites.

What about septic tanks?

In my small town, a lot of people still use septic tanks; I think Circle K will be needing to add another public restroom.

Stop messing

around in the toilet and measure the sewage between John Walters ears.

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