U.K. shrimp test positive for cocaine

Photo: Azurita (iStock)

A surprising finding from the U.K. today: CNN reports that “researchers in the U.K. have found traces of illicit drugs, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides in samples of freshwater shrimp.” In a press release, one of the researchers, Dr. Leon Barron, admits, “such regular occurrence of illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising,” especially since the sample was from a less-populated rural area. Yet it still contained cocaine, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides.

The press release includes more details about the study, which involved researchers from King’s College and the University Of Suffolk. Cocaine was found in all samples tested from five different catchment areas, and 15 sites across Suffolk county. “Other illicit drugs such as ketamine, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals” were also prevalent in the collected shrimp.

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Lest Suffolk residents wonder if the shrimp they were eating was bound to make them all hyped up, the study maintains that “for many of these, the potential for any effect is likely to be low.” Nevertheless, Dr. Barron added, “We might expect to see these in urban areas such as London, but not in smaller and more rural catchments.” Last year a study found that groundwater in London was saturated with caffeine, due to all the tea and coffee consumption. Nevertheless, the scientists conclude that more research is needed to ascertain the effect these disposed-of drugs are having on the environment and wildlife.

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Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.