Being a fish used to be kind of boring. You blub-blub around all day, go to school, sleep with your eyes open and then you go to fish afterlife. Worst case scenario, you turn into an unbalanced surfer-attacker fish or you end up as a stick.
But hold on. #Fishlife is getting turned upside down. Our finned friends are starting to expand their minds, party down, loosen up. They’re starting to get high. And it’s all thanks to two big accomplishments by the human race: increasing its population and its drug consumption.
Yahoo! News is reporting unexpected levels of basically every kind of illicit drug humans use in Canadian drinking water. Traces of cocaine, MDMA, amphetamines, and several opioids were discovered in the Grand River watershed of Southern Ontario (though not much THC, because it’s not water soluble). The findings come from a new study by McGill University in Montreal and published in the journal Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.
Water treatment in the area was found to be thorough enough to keep its drug content below an amount that would affect humans, but fish – who are smaller with low, low tolerances – these trace amounts of narcotics can pack a big wallop. And if Canada isn’t doing a great job of keeping drugs out of the drinking water, there’s almost no way their loud, debt-ridden, public works-phobic cousin to the south are doing any better.
The study’s primary author Dr. Viviane Yargeau told Yahoo! News that “there is an effect on the endocrine system or on the behavior of fish that might affect the fish population and the aquatic environment.” The endochrine system, for those who were stoned in biology class, is the system of glands that produces hormones, which in turn affect mood, sexual desire, and a whole mess of other functions. So fish are getting happy, sad and horny today based on the bad decisions we made less weekend.
It’s possible that there was a time when area wastewater treatment could contend with our toxicology, but Yargeau said that as the population of the area increases, so too do the levels of nose candy in the water. She hopes the study will bring light to the issue and convince wastewater treatment plants to improve their efficacy so we can get these fish off smack and guide them toward more rewarding life paths.