Cocaine use in the UK is so high that the drinking water is now contaminated.
High trace amounts of benzoylecgonine, cocaine’s metabolized form once it passes through the body, were discovered by researchers from the Drinking Water Inspectorate. Benzoylecgonine is the compound searched for in urine-based drug tests.
Performing a study to assess the dangers from pharmaceutical compounds appearing in the water Brits drink, experts from the Drinking Water Inspectorate discovered traces of cocaine. These remnants of the drug were found even after the water had gone through intensive purification treatments.
The findings are indicative of the scale of cocaine use in the United Kingdom today, according to Steve Rolles, from the drug policy think tank, Transform.
During an interview with The Sunday Times, Rolles explained, “We have the near highest level of cocaine use in western Europe, it has also been getting cheaper and cheaper at the same time as its use has been going up,”
It is estimated that 700,000 residents between the ages of 16 and 59 take cocaine every year in Britain.
According to the report, in addition to the metabolized cocaine, traces of ibuprofen, carbamazepine, (a drug to treat epilepsy), and caffeine were also present in the tap water.
UK health officials were quick to ease the public’s concern, assuring them that the traces found in the tap water were extremely low and unlikely to represent a danger to the citizenry.
The report from Public Health England found the cocaine quantities found were a quarter of what appeared prior to treatment. The report further reads, “Estimated exposures for most of the detected compounds are at least thousands of times below doses seen to produce adverse effects in animals and hundreds of thousands below human therapeutic doses.”
Cocaine use in Britain is so high it has contaminated the water supply. This is why I shun bottled water and drink straight from the tap.
— Reid Parker (@ReidParker_) May 12, 2014
Reddit had multiple links to the news. As could be expected, Redditors had quite a bit of fun at the UK’s expense.
Referring to the estimate of people aged 16 to 59 using cocaine, user HeftyDanielson asked incredulously, “Show me a group of late 50s on cocaine?”
To which FISH_MASTER deadpanned “Parliament.”
G***ammitChuck posted “In other news, immigration authorities reported a sharp increase in foreigners entering the UK with little red cups asking where the nearest water fountain is.”
“Hmm…this water has left me remarkably refreshed. Wanna go for a run? Or clean the house? Or Go to the fair. OR DO EVERYTHING?” mused Redditor _Vetis_.
Twitter had jokes as well. “That’s why I shun bottled water and drink straight from the tap,” tweeted one Twitter user.
One can only imagine the fun that late night TV is going to have with this. Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, and Jimmy Kimmel are probably like kids on Christmas Eve this evening.