UK drinking water laced with cocaine

UK tap water has traces of cocaine in it.

Reportedly, cocaine use in the UK is so common that traces of the drug can be found in our drinking water.


Tap water tests at four different sites have revealed a metabolised form of the illegal drug, meaning that it has passed through the body and gone back into the water system.

The levels are low and, at the moment, pose no danger to health. However, the results are a shocking indication of how widespread drug use has become in the UK.

Past studies have shown traces of cocaine on nearly every UK banknote in circulation as well as in places like the House of Commons.

However, the fact that cocaine is now detectable in tap water, after chemical purification processes, demonstrates how common its consumption has become.

Benzoylecgonine, the form cocaine is in once the drug has been processed by the body, was found in tests at four sites by the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

This is the same compound that is looked for in urine-based drug tests for cocaine.

As well as the cocaine compound, the drinking water also contained significant amounts of caffeine and traces of the common pain-killer ibuprofen.

Cocaine, which is a Class A drug, has been getting cheaper and cheaper over the years, with its popularity increasing.

It is the only major drug for which use has increased overall since 1996, with its falling price thought to be a major reason for its prevalence.

Some 700,000 people aged between 16 and 59 in the UK take cocaine every year. 

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