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Sewage test tracks drugs city by city

SCIENCE FILE / Science in Brief

August 25, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Researchers have figured out how to give an entire community a drug test using just a teaspoon of wastewater from a city's sewage-treatment plant.

The test would help federal law enforcement and other agencies track the spread of methamphetamines and other dangerous drugs across the country. An early study result showed big differences in methamphetamine use city to city.

One urban area with a gambling industry had meth levels more than five times other cities'. Yet methamphetamine levels were virtually nonexistent in some smaller, Midwestern locales, said Jennifer Field of Oregon State University, who presented the results Tuesday at a Boston meeting of the American Chemical Society.

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