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United States opioid crisis: Mussels off Seattle found with oxycodone in their system

United States opioid crisis: Mussels off Seattle found with oxycodone in their system

While tracking pollution levels in the waters of Puget Sound, researches said that trace amounts of oxycodone were recently discovered in the tissues of 'native bay mussels from Seattle and Bremerton area harbors'.

Rice said that after two to three months at the transplant site, data showed that oxycodone present in the marine creatures 'were thousands of times lower than a therapeutic dose for humans'.

Shellfish in the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean along the northwest coast of Washington, tested positive for the prescription opioid oxycodone. The chemotherapy drug Melphalan was also found in the shellfish, in "levels where we might want to look at biological impacts", Puget Sound Institute researcher Andy James said in a blog post.

Surfactants, in particular, are "known to have estrogenic effect on organisms, so they affect the hormone system of some animals in an estrogenic way, such as feminizing male fish and making female fish reproductive before they're ready", Lanksbury explained.

She adds that people flushing their drugs down the toilet may also be a source of the pharmaceuticals.

After all, a previous study has found that zebrafish are able to learn dosing themselves with opioids and other fish might have the tendency to do the same.

The program was conducted by researchers at the Puget Sound Institute, an arm of the University of Washington, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Scientists then collect the mussels, grind them up, and analyze contaminants.

People in the greater Seattle area are consuming so many opioids that, for the first time, scientists have detected traces of the drugs in mussels in local waters.

An estimated 300 pounds of pharmaceuticals and personal care products are dumped into Puget Sound every day, according to a 2016 study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published by Science Direct.

"Hopefully our data show what's out there and can get the process started for cleaning up our waters", she said.

"If we don't get tougher on drug dealers, we are wasting our time ... and that toughness includes the death penalty", Trump said. Two of the areas were close to the historic naval shipyard district, and the other one was in Elliot Bay near Harbour Island, Seattle. Mussels sold to hungry consumers are harvested from clean locations and are not obtained from Puget Sound.

"People should be wary", Lanksbury said.

"All of our species indicate where contamination is coming into the Puget Sound", she explained.

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