Drug testing using your toilet? It’s happening in Tasmania too!


Drug testing using your toilet? It may sound somewhat bizarre and unbelievable but it’s true.

According to The Mercury, authorities in Tasmania are conducting drug testing using wastewater at five unnamed locations across the state. At this stage the program is looking for traces of methamphetamines (including the drug that is gaining notoriety nationwide, ICE), MDMA (better known as ecstasy) and cocaine. The Mercury reports that the program also has the capacity to monitor for non-medical pharmaceuticals and psychoactive substances.

So, if you’re a drug user, should you be considering doing your business in the backyard?

Thankfully (particularly for your neighbours) the answer is no.

The study is simply being done to gain valuable data and highlight communities where drugs are a big concern.

As quoted in The Mercury article: “Data obtained will highlight communities with high illegal usage, the drug types that are most common and emerging drug markets,” a spokeswoman for Justice Minister Michael Keenan said.

As highlighted in previous posts on this website, Tasmania isn’t the only state to carry out such testing, with parts of Western Australia and Victoria also drug testing wastewater to highlight drug problem areas. And the exercise is set to spread wider.

The Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences is collaborating with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the University of South Australia to collect and monitor wastewater for drugs. It’s expected that approximately 50 sites will be drug tested over the next three years, as part of the program, called the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Pilot Program.

“The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Pilot Program is a key initiative in establishing an objective evidence base on illicit and licit drug use,” ACIC Chief Executive Officer, Mr Chris Dawson said.

At this stage, there will 11 sites tested in Queensland, nine in South Australia, eight in NSW, seven in WA, six in Victoria, five in Tasmania, three in the Northern Territory and one in the Australian Capital Territory.

Mr Dawson says that wastewater drug testing is not only innovative; it provides a measure rather than an estimate of the number of illegal drugs being used. The program can also measure non-illicit drugs, such as nicotine, alcohol and some pharmaceuticals.

In what perhaps could be viewed as an ironic twist to this story, the wastewater drug testing program is being funded from proceeds of crime!

Note: Integrity provides drug testing and alcohol testing services across most of Tasmania. We have branches in Hobart, Devonport and Launceston.

Drug testing of wastewater in Tasmania is being carried out to highlight areas of high drug use.

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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