Cocaine is causing some eels in London’s River Thames to be “hyperactive”, says new research results by King’s College London
A team of scientists at the university studied the composition of waste water entering the river from nearby sewers during storms, reports Fox News.
The experiment found traces of the drug within 24 hours of the overflow, The Independent reports.
Compared to other major cities, the level of cocaine entering London’s water system is much higher and more likely to be through users’ urine.
“Increases in caffeine, cocaine and benzoylecgonine (a metabolite of cocaine) were observed 24 hours after sewer overflow events,’ the report said.
London’s water treatment plants are tasked with purifying the water, but major storms reportedly “overwhelm” the operations and allow some sewage water to make its way into the river.
James Robson, a senior curator at Sea Life London, told The Independent that the addictive drug can have a similar impact on marine animals as it does on humans.
“Drugs which affect us will almost always affect all animal life, and invertebrates a little bit more because their biochemistry is much more sensitive,” Mr Robson said.
“Essentially everything in the water will be affected by drugs like these. A lot of the triggers and the ways that cocaine affects the system is really primal.”