Menus Subscribe Search

Follow us


(PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK)

Super Bowl Illegal Drug Use Update

• January 31, 2013 • 11:52 AM

(PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK)

Super Bowl weekend is upon us, and you all know what that means: Time to set aside the crystal meth and break out the cocaine.

At least, that’s what it meant to the greater Las Vegas area in 2010. An analysis of Southern Nevada wastewater found partiers were ingesting more than just chips and guacamole, and their choice of illegal stimulant differed significantly from a more sedate weekend.

Writing in the journal Water Research, a team led by Daniel Gerrity describe a study comparing the levels of various drugs in samples collected from a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The precise location is unnamed, but one co-author is identified as working for the River Mountain Water Treatment Facility of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. That fact, along with a note that the Super Bowl “causes a tremendous spike in tourism” to the region, pretty much narrows it down to Vegas.

The researchers took a series of samples on Feb. 7 and 8, 2010, and again on March 7 and 8, a relatively quiet weekend in the desert resort city. Among their findings is this intriguing statement: “Limited evidence suggests that cocaine use was elevated during Super Bowl weekend as compared to the baseline, whereas methamphetamine use was slightly lower.”

Of course, it’s impossible to say whether Super Bowl parties inspired greater cocaine use, or whether the game attracted a different, more hard-partying crowd to the city. It’s also not clear whether the March figures truly represent a baseline: The researchers conclude their paper suggesting more study is needed to determine “normal” level of these and other pharmaceuticals.

Personally, I’d love to run these same numbers during a Breaking Bad marathon.

Tom Jacobs
Staff writer Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for The Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Ventura County Star.

More From Tom Jacobs

Tags: ,

If you would like to comment on this post, or anything else on Pacific Standard, visit our Facebook or Google+ page, or send us a message on Twitter. You can also follow our regular updates and other stories on both LinkedIn and Tumblr.

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Follow us


Subscribe Now

Quick Studies

Banning Chocolate Milk Was a Bad Choice

The costs of banning America's favorite kids drink from schools may outweigh the benefits, a new study suggests.

In Battle Against Climate Change, Cities Are Left All Alone

Cities must play a critical role in shifting the world to a fossil fuel-free future. So why won't anybody help them?

When a Romance Is Threatened, People Rebound With God

And when they feel God might reject them, they buddy up to their partner.

How Can We Protect Open Ocean That Does Not Yet Exist?

As global warming melts ice and ushers in a wave of commercial activity in the Arctic, scientists are thinking about how to protect environments of the future.

What Kind of Beat Makes You Want to Groove?

The science behind the rhythms that get you on the dance floor.

The Big One

One state—Pennsylvania—logs 52 percent of all sales, shipments, and receipts for the chocolate manufacturing industry. March/April 2014