by Shi En Kim/Smithsonianmag.com
When humans dispose of trash or chemicals in waterways, our aquatic neighbors might regard that waste as food. In a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers tested the effect of methamphetamine, a common drug found in wastewater, on brown trout (Salmo trutta) by placing them in a water tank spiked with the drug. The outcome isn’t exactly surprising: Brown trout can get hooked on meth, too.
Meth use has skyrocketed in the United States and Europe in recent years, especially during the pandemic, reports Carrie Arnold for National Geographic. But meth isn’t completely absorbed when consumed, eventually exiting the body in excrement. In their current state, wastewater treatment plants aren’t equipped to remove this kind of contaminant. As a result, meth-laced sewage water released back into the environment still contains high levels of the substance.
“Where methamphetamine users are, there is also methamphetamine pollution of freshwaters,” writes study author Pavel Horký, a behavioral ecologist at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, to Nicoletta Lanese of Live Science in an email.
The team of researchers studied the effects of the drug on brown trout by replicating meth-polluted wastewater conditions in the lab. Read More: