While high school graduates in Oslo, Norway, partied hard for two weeks last spring during the so-called Russ graduation festivities, levels of the drug ecstasy spiked about 10-fold in the city's sewer system, according to new research. In the past few years, water quality specialists have monitored such illicit drug use through sewage sampling there and in other cities, including London and San Diego, to observe the effects of drug control policies.
The researchers collected data at an Oslo sewage treatment plant on six drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy, and the antihistamine cetirizine, which is marketed in the U.S. as Zyrtec, along with the metabolites of five drugs. They could identify expected patterns, such as a correlation between outdoor pollen levels and cetirizine concentrations.
Testing was abruptly halted a few miles from the "home" of the CMMDR, when dangerously high levels of "nothing" were found in his excrement.