Study: Brits Are Doing So Much Coke That It’s Now In The Water

5/12/14 12:18PM EST

Study Brits Are Doing So Much Coke That Its Now In The Water Study: Brits Are Doing So Much Coke That Its Now In The Water

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A first world problem: if there ever was one—it has been confirmed that cocaine use is so high in Britain now that it is literally in the water. Traces of the metabolized form of cocaine, Benzoylecgonine, were found at four separate sites by the Drinking Water Inspectorate. This is the same substance that indicates a positive for cocaine in urine drug tests.

Drinking Water Inspectorate representative Sue Penniston, told BBC that although the findings seem worrisome, the levels of the narcotic drug found in the water supply shouldn’t affect people’s health.

“Cocaine was not detected in drinking water,” Penniston said.

The levels found were not significant for public health, and drinking water is safe.”

The matter of how much Britons are engaging in the narcotic use, though, is another issue. A recent UK government report indicated that after marijuana powder cocaine was the second most-used drug in the country for 2012-2013, followed closely by ecstasy.

Steve Rolles, from the drug policy think tank Transform, told The Sunday Times that the water study and government findings nod to an issue that’s been getting consistently worse over the years.

“We have the near highest level of cocaine use in western Europe,” Rolles said.

It has also been getting cheaper and cheaper at the same time as its use has been going up.”

It’s estimated that about 700,000 people use cocaine in Britain every year, and even though the government report states that there has been a fall in the use of Class A drugs among young adults, between the years 1997 and 2013, “there was a significant increase in the use of powder cocaine over the same period (1.3 percent to 3.0 percent).”

Along with cocaine, the water tests also found traces of the common pain-killer ibuprofen and carbamazepine, a drug for treating epilepsy.

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