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American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Aug. 15, 2007
Date:8/22/2007

9-8161-71-3381-3863
E-mail: Thomas.hofmann@wzw.tum.de


ARTICLE #10 EMBARGOED FOR: Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2:25 p.m., Eastern Time

Sewage chemicals reveal evidence of illegal drug use

Public health officials may soon be able to flush out more accurate estimates on illegal drug use in communities across the country thanks to a new screening test. But the test doesnt screen people directly: It seeks out evidence of illicit drug abuse in drug residues and metabolites excreted in urine and flushed toward municipal sewage treatment plants.

The approach could provide a fast, reliable and inexpensive way to track trends in drug use at the local, regional or state levels while preserving the anonymity of individuals, Jennifer Field and colleagues said.

Past estimates of illicit drug abuse in a community were based largely on surveys in which children and adults were asked about their use of illegal drugs. Researchers knew that some were untruthful, with individuals reluctant to admit breaking the law.

Preliminary tests conducted in 10 U.S. cities show the method can simultaneously quantify methamphetamine and metabolites of cocaine and marijuana and legal drugs such as methadone, oxycodone, and ephedrine, the researchers said.

Because our method can provide data in real time, we anticipate it might be used to help law officials undertaking surveillance to make intervention or prevention decisions or to decide where to allocate resources, the scientists stated.

ARTICLE #10 EMBARGOED FOR: Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2:25 p.m., Eastern Time

CONTACT:
Jennifer Field, Ph.D.
Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon 97331
Phone: 541-737-2265
Email: fieldj@bcc.orst.edu


ARTICLE #11 EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, Aug. 20, 2007

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Contact: Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
202-872-4400
American Chemical Society
Source:Eurekalert

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