High levels of cocaine found in the Thames are making eels hyperactive

Londoners are taking so much cocaine that the class A drug can be found in the River Thames – and it’s making the eels hyperactive.

Cocaine from users’ urine has been detected in increasing quantities, research from the Thames monitoring station near the Houses of Parliament has shown.

The drug should be removed from the capital’s water supply by treatment and dilution, however, the research has shown that the system is failing and the constant detection of cocaine could affect wildlife.

Londoners are taking so much cocaine that the class A drug can be found in the River Thames - and it's making the eels hyperactive. Cocaine from users' urine has been detected in increasing quantities research from the Thames monitoring station near the Houses of Parliament has shown (file image)

Londoners are taking so much cocaine that the class A drug can be found in the River Thames - and it's making the eels hyperactive. Cocaine from users' urine has been detected in increasing quantities research from the Thames monitoring station near the Houses of Parliament has shown (file image)

Londoners are taking so much cocaine that the class A drug can be found in the River Thames – and it’s making the eels hyperactive. Cocaine from users’ urine has been detected in increasing quantities research from the Thames monitoring station near the Houses of Parliament has shown (file image)

The drug should be removed from the capital's water supply by treatment and dilution, however, the research has shown that the system is failing and the constant detection of cocaine could affect wildlife (file image)

The drug should be removed from the capital's water supply by treatment and dilution, however, the research has shown that the system is failing and the constant detection of cocaine could affect wildlife (file image)

The drug should be removed from the capital’s water supply by treatment and dilution, however, the research has shown that the system is failing and the constant detection of cocaine could affect wildlife (file image)

Eels migrate up the Thames every year between April and October, but face many hazards and obstacles and are regarded as critically endangered. 

They are usually found close to the estuary, travelling as far as Greenwich. The class A drug found in the water affects their behaviour and makes them more erratic.

Downpours that overwhelm waste plant systems and carry sewage into the river added to the phenomena, the research said.  

‘Increases in caffeine, cocaine and benzoylecgonine [a metabolite] were observed 24 hours after sewer overflow events,’ King’s College London researchers told The Sunday Times‘ Science editor Jonathan Leake. 

It comes as cocaine use is on the rise throughout the UK, bringing with it a grisly death toll. 

Last year the spike in deaths from cocaine use – which has almost quadrupled in seven years – was revealed.

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There were 432 deaths related to the drug in England and Wales in 2017, compared with 371 the previous year and 112 in 2011, figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal.

Eels migrate up the Thames every year between April and October, but face many hazards and obstacles and are regarded as critically endangered. They are usually found close to the estuary, travelling as far as Greenwich. The class A drug found in the water affects their behaviour and makes them more erratic (file image)

Eels migrate up the Thames every year between April and October, but face many hazards and obstacles and are regarded as critically endangered. They are usually found close to the estuary, travelling as far as Greenwich. The class A drug found in the water affects their behaviour and makes them more erratic (file image)

Eels migrate up the Thames every year between April and October, but face many hazards and obstacles and are regarded as critically endangered. They are usually found close to the estuary, travelling as far as Greenwich. The class A drug found in the water affects their behaviour and makes them more erratic (file image)

The drug should be removed from the capital's water supply by treatment and dilution, however, the research has shown that the system is failing and the constant detection of cocaine could affect wildlife (file image)

The drug should be removed from the capital's water supply by treatment and dilution, however, the research has shown that the system is failing and the constant detection of cocaine could affect wildlife (file image)

The drug should be removed from the capital’s water supply by treatment and dilution, however, the research has shown that the system is failing and the constant detection of cocaine could affect wildlife (file image)

The number of deaths from the drug increased for the sixth year running, with 7.5 deaths per million population last year.

The UK has a higher rate of cocaine use than anywhere else in Europe, with 9.7 per cent of people having reported using the drug.

Powdered cocaine is the second most used drug in Britain after cannabis, with 875,000 people reporting having used it in the last year.

One possible reason for the rise in deaths is that the purity of street cocaine across Europe has increased every year from 2010, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

Production in nations such as Colombia has also increased.

‘We’ve seen a year-on-year increase in the purity of cocaine,’ Dr Prun Bijral, medical director at charity Change Grow Live, said.

‘And so we’re seeing an increased demand, an increased availability and a reduced price.’

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