Doped-Up Shrimp: Cocaine, Ketamine, Pesticides Found in Global Shrimp Supply

Has Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) started investing in the shrimp industry? That’s a question on people’s minds after a study showed trace amounts of different illicit drugs – including cocaine – in the British shrimp supply.

A study released in Environment International showed that Gammarus pulex, a type of freshwater shrimp, tested positive for contaminants like ketamine, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.

But every single shrimp that was tested was found to have traces of cocaine inside them, which is apparently the preferred intoxicant of these crustaceans.

“Although concentrations were low, we were able to identify compounds that might be of concern to the environment and crucially, which might pose a risk to wildlife,” said Dr. Thomas Miller, who served as the study’s lead author.

“As part of our ongoing work, we found that the most frequently detected compounds were illicit drugs, including cocaine and ketamine and a banned pesticide, fenuron. Although for many of these, the potential for any effect is likely to be low,” Dr. Miller added.

Fifteen separate locations were tested by researchers, which indicate that these showings are far from a fluke.

‚ÄúSuch regular occurrence of illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising,” said Dr. Barron, another researcher who worked on the study. “We might expect to see these in urban areas such as London, but not in smaller and more rural catchments.”

These surprising findings will spur more research to be done that will determine just how deeply the world’s seafood supply is contaminated.

“Whether the presence of cocaine in aquatic animals is an issue for Suffolk, or more widespread an occurrence in the UK and abroad, awaits further research. Environmental health has attracted much attention from the public due to challenges associated with climate change and microplastic pollution,” University of Suffolk Professor Nic Bury said.

“However, the impact of ‘invisible’ chemical pollution (such as drugs) on wildlife health needs more focus in the UK,” he added.

While ‘Cocaine Mitch’ may be happy about this news, it underscores real concerns about the safety of the world’s food supply. Industrial consumption and widespread drug use are causing a chain reaction that could have long-lasting consequences.