Testing at 96 Oregon sewage plants shows meth, cocaine and ecstasy
by Scott Learn, The Oregonian
Friday July 24, 2009, 7:00 PM
As Tour de France riders can attest, one way to figure out whether someone is using illegal drugs is to do a urinalysis.
That isn't possible, of course, at the level of whole cities or towns.
Or maybe it is.
Last year, researchers at Oregon State University, the University of Washington and McGill University took one-day samples from 96 Oregon sewage treatment plants that volunteered to participate. They tested for the presence of chemicals indicating methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy or MDMA. Then they estimated the daily drug load per person for each community.
Cocaine showed up in 80 percent of the communities tested. Ecstasy, the one-time party drug now spreading to other venues, in about 40 percent. And meth appeared in every test, from Oregon's smallest towns to its biggest cities.