Cocaine, other drugs found in all shrimp tested for UK study

Researchers in the UK have found traces of drugs, including cocaine, ketamine, Xanax and Valium, in freshwater shrimp.

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Scientists with King's College London and the University of Suffolk tested exposure of wildlife, including shrimp, to different micropollutants at 15 different sites in the mostly rural county of Suffolk, according to a statement from King's College London.

Scientists unexpectedly found cocaine in all samples tested, the statement said. Other illicit drugs, including ketamine, pesticides and pharmaceuticals were also widespread in the shrimp that were collected.

There was also the presence of the banned pesticide fenuron.

“Such regular occurrence of illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising,” said Dr. Leon Barron, of King’s College London. “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.”

Lead author Dr. Thomas Miller, of King’s College London, said that while “concentrations were low,” the compounds still “might pose a risk to wildlife.”

The full study is available here.

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