A routine water test has shown trace amounts of cocaine in the UK’s water supply. The test, which was designed to look for traces of prescription drugs after water had been processed for drinking picked up cocaine as well as caffeine, Ibuprofen and a number of other medications.
This new information reveals the stunning scale of cocaine use in the UK. The country is known to be one of the largest consumers of cocaine in Europe but the cocaine use must be at truly epic quantities before it shows up in water testing.
Current estimates put the number of people dependent on crack cocaine in the England at 180,000. Those numbers only show a portion of the problem though. Nearly 700,000 people between the ages of 16 and 59 take cocaine in Britain each year. If you assume that each of the 700,000 people only did a single line, equal to about a quarter gram, that still adds up to 175 kilograms of cocaine used each year.
Water quality experts said that treatment removed three quarters of the cocaine from the water but getting all of the pharmaceutical contaminants out may be impossible. Thankfully, the residual amounts of cocaine found should not cause any health problems.
“Intakes of the compounds detected in drinking water are many orders of magnitude lower than levels therapeutic doses,” the report said.
“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.”
“Thus, the detected pharmaceuticals are unlikely to present a risk to health.”
Filtering out more of the cocaine residue in the water may be possible but it would likely cost a great deal of money and only really addresses a symptom of the real problem. The best solution would be to provide more treatment or preventative measures to decrease the use of cocaine in the UK.