America's own War on Drugs™ is so well documented to the point of self-parody, but what of our ancestral progenitors across the pond? They are all snorting a lot of coke. So much, it would appear, that scientists in the UK say its found its way into the water supply:
In a study to assess the dangers from pharmaceutical compounds appearing in the water we drink, scientists discovered traces of cocaine after it had gone through intensive purification treatments.
Experts from the Drinking Water Inspectorate found supplies contained benzoylecgonine, the metabolised form of the drug that appears once it has passed through the body. It is the same compound that is looked for in urine-based drug tests for cocaine.
"We have the near highest level of cocaine use in western Europe," Steve Rolles of drug policy think tank Transform, told the Sunday Times. "It has also been getting cheaper and cheaper at the same time as its use has been going up."
But how bad could it be? Oh:
According to the charity DrugScope, there are around 180,000 dependent users of crack cocaine in England, and nearly 700,000 people aged 16-59 are estimated to take cocaine every year in Britain.
But it's safe to still drink the water, our English friends!
"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."
[Image via Sunday Times]