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Author Topic: Flushing away privacy may help the fight against illicit drugs in our society  (Read 3719 times)

Offline Chip (OP)

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Flushing away privacy may help the fight against illicit drugs in our society

IS the bathroom a sanctuary? Do you escape the household in its smallest room? The bathroom lock is well respected as guarding private moments. Not anymore.

CCTV monitors our movements throughout public areas. Online purchases and downloads — from clothes bought to movies watched — allow businesses and retailers to collect information about spending habits and interests.

Privacy of movement, spending and proclivities is a sacrifice we increasingly make to be part of the expediency and service of a digital economy.

But there always has been the privacy of the privy.

Researchers in Europe are changing that through the emerging science of wastewater analysis. Over the past five years, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has coordinated research to standardise wastewater analysis. The results are studies of wastewater across 27 European countries and 67 cities.

The sewage is being tested to determine the prevalence of illicit drug consumption. Scientists measure wastewater at sewage sanitation plants to determine illicit drug usage in relatively finite geographical locations.

Testing also discloses which drugs are most commonly used such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and cannabis.

For example, the EMCDDA studies reveal that cocaine use is prevalent in western European cities but comparatively negligible in eastern Europe, whilst amphetamines are commonly used in the north of Europe but not in the south.

Wastewater analysis can also indicate if new strains of drugs are being developed and consumed.

The science has significant consequences for law enforcement and health agencies. It detects which illicit drugs are being consumed and where.

Policing can then focus on particular drugs based on scientific evaluation of their pervasiveness in a community, not just “on the beat” policing experience or intelligence.

The science, by measuring metabolites in urine, can detect increased use or varying strains of drugs faster than general policing. The aim of researchers is to develop the capacity for real-time monitoring of drug consumption by time and place.

The research is challenging traditional data on drug use.

Wastewater analysis has shown that the prevalence of illicit drug consumption can be five to 10 times higher than data collected by police or general population surveys. The analysis is difficult to challenge: we all need to go to the bathroom.

Accurate data on drug consumption allows government agencies to more accurately deploy health initiatives associated with drug consumption by directly targeting the real needs of particular communities.

We allow ourselves to be filmed by CCTV for safety and to have our personal data distributed by online providers to provide ease of access and accuracy for services and products we need. The next trade off may be our bathroom respite in return for more acute policing and health responses to drug use.

BY THE President of the Law Society of SA, Australia.
I do not condone or support any illegal activities. All information is for theoretical discussion and wonder.
All activities discussed are considered fictional and hypothetical. Information of all discussion has been derived from online research and in the spirit of personal Freedom.

Offline dizzle

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holy fuck. before you know it they'll be taking samples of shit and piss and DNA sampling them and saying "you took a dump in this part of town and it showed you've been using heroin, that was enough to get us a search warrant and when we busted in we found needles and empty bags, and a cooker, so we're seizing your car, house, and bank accounts."

be careful where you take dumps, people.

Offline komoshan

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I've heard the crazy stats on hormones from birth-control accidentally contaminating our water from so many female pissers, but never anything like gov search/testing our shit... very very scary stuff.
we live life trying to make a mark. we die looking for a trail left, searching for meaningful ink splattered across buildings, cars and spouses; hoping they are enough to make up for this unremarkable life of going to go to get. eventually we find out the finish line concludes with a large empty pot

Offline MoeMentim

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There was a hilarious news story here in Colorado last year, some town "found THC" in the drinking water.  It was a few weeks until the real story came out - someone accidentally got tap water on a piss strip (I think that was it, but don't quote me).  So it was metabolites, not THC which is so water insoluable it'd never show, it would stick to the pipes or anything it came into contact with other than water.  I am surprised that the metabolites make it through the purification process & into the tap water though.  Maybe it was just a false positive altogether, I forget what the actual consensus was after the hype died down.  Gotta love Colorado, the state is literally soaked in weed...
« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 05:27:39 AM by MoeMentim »


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