22 Dec 2015

Researcher hopes to test sewage for drugs

9:22 am on 22 December 2015

An addiction researcher is hoping to win a police contract to test for illicit drugs in sewage.

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Photo: 123rf.com

A budget of $220,000 has been allocated for the wastewater analysis, the prime minister announced last week.

Sewage will be tested for drugs such as methamphetamine, cannabis, ecstasy, LSD, cocaine and heroin, the police said.

Samples will be taken in Christchurch and Auckland over a year.

The project will give the police and health authorities more accurate and timely information about illicit drug use, Massey University senior researcher Chris Wilkins said.

Dr Wilkins has done a pilot project based on similar work by scientists in Queensland, and hopes he can make a successful bid for the contract.