Sewage shares its dirty secrets

An international environmental science and technology conference on the island of Rhodes on Thursday heard how the examination of raw sewage can offer useful insights into changing social behavior.

For example, a study conducted by the Athens Water Company (EYDAP) and the University of Athens on sewage dumped into the waste processing facility on Psyttaleia, an islet off Piraeus, found increasing traces of narcotics and psychotropics, as well as evidence of patterns in drug use.

Tests conducted on sewage samples saw a spike in so-called ?party? drugs such as cocaine and MDMA (or ecstasy) on weekends, while traces of drugs such as cannabis and heroin remain at more or less the same levels throughout the week.

Researchers estimate that around 500-600 grams of cocaine, 1 kilogram of heroin, 2 kg of cannabis and 10-20 grams of ecstasy are consumed in Attica on a daily basis. They also noted a spike in the use of mood-enhancing drugs.