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Toilet water reveals NZ drug use

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/03/2017
White Traditional Toilet and Tile © Corbis White Traditional Toilet and Tile

Testing of toilet and shower wastewater for illegal drug use in among Christchurch and Auckland residents has confirmed the low use of heroin, police say.

In December police began analysing wastewater in Christchurch and Auckland's Rosedale treatment plant to work out how much and which kind of drugs are being consumed

The tests look for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, alpha PVP, MDMA and creatinine, which is used as the control.

According to results released on Tuesday, the first three months showed 734 grams of meth detected in Auckland in December, 648g in January and 730g in February.

Christchurch returned readings of 731g , 458g and 798g.

After just three months it is too early to draw meaningful conclusions apart from the fact no alpha-PVP or heroin was detected, says Assistant Commissioner Bill Searle.

"The absence of these drugs in the areas being tested is good news for agencies."

He said the aim of the testing was not to detect and charge individuals for illegal drug use but rather to gather data to aid other enforcement measures and add to global studies of drug use patterns.

The Institute of Environmental Science and Research is doing the testing, with samples to be taken in Auckland and Christchurch for seven days each month for a year.

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