Science 2 min read

Researchers Find Traces of Cocaine in Freshwater Shrimp

A new study based in England shows that some river shrimp may have had a harder weekend than most. The survey found high traces of a number of illicit drugs, including cocaine, in the animal's systems.

Image courtesy of DirkBlankenhaus

Image courtesy of DirkBlankenhaus

Scientists from Kings College in London and the University of Suffolk were stunned after discovering that the freshwater shrimp in Britain’s countryside rivers contain illegal party drugs in their system.

A joint team of researchers investigating 15 locations in the five rivers surrounding Suffolk for water contaminants discovered traces of cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine, and MDMA in the wildlife samples taken from the said areas.

The team reported in their paper published in the journal Environment International that every single sample they gathered tested positive for cocaine while the other illegal pharmaceuticals were only found in some of the freshwater shrimp.

Dr. Leon Barron, one of the researchers from Kings College, was quoted as saying:

“Such regular occurrence of illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising. We might expect to see these in urban areas such as London, but not in smaller and more rural catchments. The presence of pesticides which have long been banned in the UK also poses a particular challenge as the sources of these remain unclear.”

Drugged Freshwater Shrimp

The study’s lead author, Dr. Thomas Miller, claimed that despite the low concentration of the drugs found in the local shrimp population, they were able to identify the chemicals that might pose a significant risk not just to the wildlife in the area but the marine environment itself.

Dr. Miller said:

“As part of our ongoing work, we found that the most frequently detected compounds were illicit drugs, including cocaine and ketamine and a banned pesticide, fenuron.”

The team gathered their samples from Deven, Alde, Stour, Waveney, and Gipping rivers. It remains unclear how the illegal substances reached the streams or where they came from. However, the researchers are positive that the water treatment facilities surrounding Suffolk can remove up to 90 percent of cocaine in the water.

Nic Burry, a scientist from the University of Suffolk, said in a statement:

“Whether the presence of cocaine in aquatic animals is an issue for Suffolk, or more widespread an occurrence in the UK and abroad, awaits further research.”

Read More: Scientists Make A Protein Mat That Can Soak Up Chemical Pollution

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Rechelle Ann Fuertes

Rechelle is an SEO content producer, technical writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with family and friends.

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