Travel

Brits use so much cocaine, their water is now contaminated

Shutterstock

Balancing barns suspended half in the air. Water slides covering entire streets. Submarine sex. There must be something in the water over in the U.K. 

Turns out, there is: Brits are ingesting so much cocaine that trace amounts are appearing in the water supply -- even after rigorous purification. According to the Independent, the Drinking Water Inspectorate detected benzoylecgonine (cocaine once it's been processed by the body) along with traces of caffeine, ibuprofen, and the epilepsy drug carbamazepine in British water.

Analysts are blaming increased drug abuse in the U.K. for the contamination.

“We have the near highest level of cocaine use in western Europe”, Steve Rolles, a spokesman from 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".

Though it's unusual that cocaine was discovered in the U.K.'s water in the first place, a report compiled by the organization Public Health England determined that since the amount of cocaine found in water after treatment is approximately 75 percent less than the amount present in water pre-treatment -- with 4 nanograms in each liter -- the minuscule dose won't pose a serious threat. As the report put it, "the detected pharmaceuticals are unlikely to present a risk to health". 

Still, if you see Brits stumbling about in a too-awake stupor, now you'll know why.

Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. She’s never cared for London’s tap water. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.