Fish are in danger of becoming addicted to methamphetamine when traces of the drug enter our rivers, a new study warns.
Researchers in the Czech Republic performed lab experiments with the brown trout (Salmo trutta) in waters contaminated with the illegal drug.
After immersion in the meth-contaminated waters, the team found the fish became less active, but also displayed disturbing levels of dependence.
Meth – which comes in several different forms including tablets, powder and crystals – enters our waterways directly from the drug user in their home.
The research has been conducted by experts at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague in the Czech Republic.
‘Methamphetamines, as well as other contaminants of emerging concern, are similarly introduced to surface waters through discharge from wastewater treatment plants,’ said study author Pavel Horký.
‘Users of these substances excrete them into the sewage collection systems, then the substances enter the wastewater treatment plants that were not designed to treat such contamination.
‘Finally, contaminants enter the freshwater ecosystems at relatively low, but detectable and biologically efficient levels.’
Drug addiction could potentially drive fish to congregate near unhealthy water treatment discharges ‘in search of a fix’.