Fish addicted to opioids? Sadly, it’s not a joke. The Opioid Epidemic is not only affecting humans; it is also affecting our wildlife. It is estimated that opioids took 63,600 human lives in 2016 by opioid overdose, not including any other illicit drug. Evidence now shows it’s in some of our waters, fish and even the mussels we consume. So how are fish and other animals consuming prescription opioids? According to BBC News, mussels in Seattle’s Puget Sound have tested positive for Oxycodone. Human waste and food are being distributed into the waters. This means there is a high population of individuals using oxycodone in this area.
Luckily mussels cannot metabolize opioids however, many wild fish can develop an opioid use disorder. According to a University of Utah Study, Zebra fish will self-administer opioids when given the opportunity to do so. Opioids aren’t just affecting and harming humans but animals as well. Mussels and fish consume an abundance of waste and contaminated products that humans distribute into the water.
“In 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, estimated that nearly 300lbs (136kg) of pharmaceuticals, personal care products and industrial compounds ended up in the Puget Sound each day, some at high enough concentrations to negatively impact fish.
Fish addicted to opioids, what’s next? Maybe it’s time for humans to get clean from illegal drugs so our waters and environment stays safe.
At Schick Shadel Hospital, our staff has worked with countless patients since we first opened our doors more than 80 years ago, and have successfully helped more than 80,000 people break free from drug addiction. If you or someone you love are looking to make the next step towards recovery, send us a confidential message through our online form or call us at (800) 272-8464 to speak with one of our medical professionals today.