Odd News Show

Fish & Trips: Drugs in Water Have Sea-Life Hooked on Partying

Raw sewage dumped in the English Channel has left marine species in the water “full of drugs”, and now fish communities are HOOKED on partying.

By Liz Days · March 31, 2024

Cocaine Fish: The New Cocaine Bear Mika Brandt/Unsplash

If you’re wondering why sea creatures near the English Channel seem to be partying a little harder these days, it’s because humanity has wreaked havoc on them in a whole new way. It’s not enough that we eat fish, hook fish, and invade their space with scuba and snorkel gear (um, some privacy, please, GREG!?). But after rampant raw sewage spills from a nearby sewage plant in Hampshire, England’s Langstone Harbor, every marine species swimming in nearby waters is now “full of drugs”. And we’re talkin’ a cocktail of ‘em, including contraceptive pills, antidepressants, cocaine, MDMA and amphetamines.

We had our worries about the potential for a drug epidemic in the watery depths when sea turtles were being found with straws up their noses, launching plastic straw bans worldwide, and “very special episodes” of underwater television programming.

Everyone's doing it, Kevin. Don't you wanna be coooool?  David Clode/Unsplash

Though the full effects of this spill haven’t yet been revealed, marine biologist & Professor Alex Ford insists that drugs affect wildlife “in the same way they do us.”

In other words, these sea creatures are gonna be in full party mode: lettin’ their scales down at Club Triton’s ocean-famous ragers, making bad symbiotic relationship decisions (hook up with a cod, wake up with crabs; we’ve all been there); and losing their families, homes, jobs, and Nemos for that sweet, sweet high.

King Triton's parties are LIT!  Jean Wimmerlin/Unsplash

British seahorse & local underwater artist Reef Herring has responded to this eminent threat by starting a mural campaign with anti-drug messages like “crack is wack” & “ice ain’t nice” to encourage young fish to kick the habit.

“Blowfish don’t do blow,” Herring says. “Seabass don’t freebase; Angel fish don’t snort angel dust.” Because of human negligence, he argues, water communities now have schools of fingerlings - with their mouthbrooders and livebearers - suffering  from hyperactivity, anxiety (though that is curbed by the antidepressants) and, in alarming numbers, loss of teeth.

“Nobody wants to see a toothless Monkfish.”
Reef Herring - British Seahorse & Artist

Meanwhile, families on land fear that with their Friday night omega 3 fatty acid fish dinners, they’ll also be unwittingly dropping acid. “What we do to the planet, it does back to us,” a concerned Hampshire mother of 3 says.

Remember to eat your drugs twice a week!  Travis Yewell/Unsplash
“I learned long ago to ‘Just Say no’… BUT, when I can’t say no, I store my own drug-laced waste in the backyard so that it doesn’t end up in our waterways. Be responsible, people!”
Agatha Bailey - mother of 3, Hampshire, England

We’re hoping that this far-too-common example of human destructive behavior will become less so as we all take accountability for our effect on Mother Earth. But if 80s anti-drug campaigns taught us anything, it’s that humans who use drugs have Mackerel who use drugs. While the highs may be epic, sung in future sea shanties, let’s hope the lows don’t leave us and our fishy friends up the channel without a paddle.