Look out, Lubbock, you’ve been busted.
A Texas Tech researcher used sewage water to track cocaine use in the city, concluding that it’s used up to a third more on weekends than on weekdays.
Using a process called “sewage epidemiology,” Juliet Kinyua, a Texas Tech researcher, tested the water coming into the facility, then analyzed samples with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to test for a chemical created when humans metabolize cocaine.
She collected samples on Mondays, which would be representative of what happened over the weekend, and on Fridays, which would reflect cocaine use during the week.
When a human ingests cocaine, 45 percent of the amount is turned into a metabolite called benzoylecgonine, or BE, Kinyua said in a news release. The chemical is produced only when people use the drug.
“We know that 45 percent of cocaine gets metabolized into BE. It’s stable, and you can detect it within 96 hours of intake,” Kinyua said. That’s why we chose to go with that. When we screened wastewater, we were able to calculate backwards and estimate how much cocaine was being used.“ Miami Herald Wire Services