That's what 17 year old Daniel Jeffrey Martin from Desert Vista High School heard from his mom one day while driving near a piece of the desert near his home town of Phoenix, Arizona. "Huh?" he asked. His mom, a forensic scientist (think: CSI), explained to him that when dead bodies are found in the desert by animals like coyotes, bobcats, and wolves, these scavengers will usually eat them—except for the bodies of methamphetamine users (proven by an autopsy).
Daniel thought this would be a perfect science fair project so he studied the records from the local county coroner's office. And sure enough—he learned that even scavenging animals don't want to go near the nasty chemicals left in the body by meth.
These photos from Daniel's science fair poster show the type of marks left by animal scavengers on bones. In his study, Daniel learned that the coroner found fewer scavenging marks on bodies that contained traces of methamphetamines.
The science project was so well done that Daniel won a Second Place Addiction Science Award from NIDA at the 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. You can read more about his project at NIDA's Web site.