Seattle and other cities in Washington could learn a lot about how residents are using pot by collecting samples at waste water treatment facilities. When the idea was floated during a Spokane City Council meeting it got a few giggles, but epidemiologist Caleb Banta-Green says waste sampling for drugs is no joke.
A sample from King County's West Point Treatment Facility, for instance, provides information about more than a million people whose waste ends up there.
"It's a way to get total population of drug consumption. It's anonymous and it's quantifiable and we can compare trends over time and between places," said Banta-Green, a senior research scientist at the University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, who has published several articles on the topic.
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