Mass Drug Testing in Virginia

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Fairfax County, Virginia, recently agreed to a White House pilot program that tests water from the Potomac River Basin for cocaine. The samples have already been collected and shipped off to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, where they are currently being evaluated for traces of the main urinary byproduct of the drug. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors say it is no indication that there is a predominance of drug use in the region, rather, that the White House sees it as a tool to compile a more accurate drug use index.

This is a slippery slope—and could have greater repercussions than simply a change in statistics. Could health insurance companies use the data to increase premiums in the area, citing higher risk clients? Could the results have effects on the way federal funds are disbursed? David Murray, special assistant to national drug czar John P. Walters, said that the wastewater testing “will be very, very useful.”

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate