"It seems like the prescriptions for opioids are high enough that it's starting to come out in the waters here at least in the really you know, dense urban corridors", Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Jennifer Lanksbury told Global News.
The Puget Sound Institute, a partner in the study, said none of the opioid-positive mussels were near commercial shellfish beds.
"What we eat and what we excrete goes into the Puget Sound".
"Things like, they can affect the growth of organisms, their hormone systems, their ability to reproduce", she explained. This marks the first time the opioid has ever been found in marine life in Washington. Some of the oxycodone consumed by people end up in the toilet before going to wastewater treatment plants.
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After all, a previous study has found that zebrafish are able to learn dosing themselves with opioids and other fish might have the tendency to do the same.
The growing use of opioids is showing up in an unexpected place - the waters of the Puget Sound, specifically the marine life that lives there, scientists say.
The Department uses mussels to get a reading on pollution in waterways because they're "filter feeders", meaning they absorb contaminants from their surroundings into their tissues.
The researchers said the mussels they study typically test positive for other pharmaceutical drugs, as well as illegal drugs such as cocaine, but they hadn't tested positive for opioids until now.
Scientists have discovered oxycodone in mussels when testing water for contamination. The contaminants in this case are thought to be passed into Puget Sound through discharge from wastewater treatment plants. In the process, "they pick up all sorts of contaminants, so at any given time their body tissues record data about water quality over the previous two to four months", the institute explains.
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"If we don't get tougher on drug dealers, we are wasting our time ... and that toughness includes the death penalty", Trump said.
Almost two decades ago, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a study and found "measurable amounts" of medications in a whopping 80 percent of water samples that were collected from 139 steams across 30 states.
"Mussels have a simpler system than fish, and that makes them great for monitoring", Lanksbury said.
Of 18 areas researchers utilized, three indicated hints of oxycodone.
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