WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- Officials in Fairfax County, Va., have agreed to participate in a White House pilot program analyzing wastewater for cocaine content.
County workers have collected five days' worth of water samples at the pollution control plant in Lorton, according Anthony H. Griffin, a Fairfax County executive.
The samples were then shipped to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Rockville, Md., where they will be analyzed for traces of benzoylecgonine, the main urinary metabolite byproduct of cocaine.
Critics of the administration's drug policies said the effort seemed harmless enough, but wondered what purpose this study served, The Washington Post reported.
The administration says it is possible that cocaine use could be much greater than current government studies estimate.
Scientists of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, who tested water from the Po last year, found the river carried the equivalent of about four kilograms of cocaine, the Times of London reported.
They estimated that the 1.4 million young adults living in the Po River Basin were consuming about 40,000 doses a day, more than twice the existing national estimates.