Scientists finding opioids and antibiotics in shellfish

Researchers in Washington discovered trace amounts of opioids in mussels off Seattle's coast

Researchers in Washington discovered trace amounts of opioids in mussels off Seattle's coast

The west coast of the United States -and other communities across the country- continue to struggle with the devastating impact of opioid addiction, with the problem so bad the region's mussel population is now testing positive for the substance. Instead, they were used specifically to measure levels of pollution in the waters of Puget Sound, according to a May 9 statement from the Puget Sound Institute (PSI) at the University of Washington, Tacoma. (Other contenders: "impactful", "content", "utilize", "normalize", "incel.") Nevertheless, it appears to be the mot juste for passing on the news that people in the PNW take so much heroin, fentanyl, Vicodin, OxyContin, Oxycodone, and oxytocin (probably) that even the shellfish in the region are getting a contact high.

"What we eat and what we excrete goes into the Puget Sound", said Jennifer Lanksbury, Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife."So these are Penn Cove mussels". Three of locations came back positive for oxycodone, two near Bremerton and Elliot Bay.

When humans ingest opioids like oxycodone, they ultimately end up excreting traces of the drugs into the toilet.

While the mussels themselves likely don't metabolize the drug - and therefore shouldn't be affected by it - the fact that it's there raises concerns about the fish in the area.

As the USA continues to grapple with a widespread opioid epidemic, alarming research from Seattle indicates that the local population is consuming so much oxycodone that it's seeping into the local water supply.

He also said the oxycodone was found in amounts thousands of times lower than a therapeutic dose for humans.

"Hopefully our data shows what's out there and can get the process started for cleaning up our waters", she said.

The researchers say the mussels are filter feeders, meaning they absorb contaminants from the surrounding water into their tissue.

The mussels tested came from highly urbanized areas, far from commercial shellfish beds where mussels are raised for food, according to the PSI.

"Those are definitely chemicals that are out there in the nearshore waters and they may be having an impact on the fish and shellfish that live there", Lanksbury said. A previous study showed that zebrafish self-administer the commonly prescribed painkiller hydrocodone, and seek out the drug in unsafe situations, once they are hooked.

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