Trying to keep on top of new illicit drug use in Queensland may be like being up a certain creek without a paddle for police.
But that's exactly how they plan to deal with the issue.
Tests by The University of Queensland, partially funded by the Australian Federal Police, have routinely been checking sewage in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast to show what types of drugs people have used.
The study's 2010/11 southeast Queensland results, released on Monday, show thousands of people are taking illicit drugs every day.
And for every 1000 people, about one to five grams of marijuana is consumed each day.
The research showed ecstasy use skyrocketed on New Year's Eve in 2010 and users tended to indulge in cocaine and methamphetamine over the Christmas holiday period.
Professor Wayne Hall says while the study helps law enforcement by providing a snapshot of drug use, it's a quick way to figure out how prevalent the use of a new drug is in the community.
"There's often a delay in hearing about new drug use and then being able to get a handle on how much of it there is and what the harms are," he said.
"This gives an early warning system that could provide information much more cheaply than doing surveys."
Prof Hall said the study only identifies the amount of drugs in a particular catchment area.
It won't be able to tell exactly where the drugs originated.
Prof Hall said that research would be prohibitively expensive and like "using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut".
"We need to hose down unrealistic expectations that there will be a policeman at the end of everybody's toilet outlet monitoring their drug use," he said.
"That's not going to happen."