Traces Of Opioids Found In Seattle-Area Mussels

Traces Of Opioids Found In Seattle-Area Mussels

Shellfish in the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean along the northwest coast of Washington, tested positive for the prescription opioid oxycodone. Pretty much whatever ends up in the sea eventually ends up in a mussel.

Still, the discovery of opioid-positive shellfish in Puget Sound is a stark new milestone in the epidemic, showing that enough humans are hooked on these life-altering drugs for the trace chemicals they excrete to register in other species in our coastal waters. Researchers took clean mussels from Penn Cove on Whidby Island and placed them in cages in Puget Sound, where they took in trace contaminants from their new home after two or three months.

The mussels came from very urban areas and are reportedly not near any commercial shellfish beds where mussels are harvested for food.

"If we don't get tougher on drug dealers, we are wasting our time ... and that toughness includes the death penalty", Trump said.

Researchers said the mussels aren't harmed by the opioids because they don't metabolize them, but other fish can.

"You wouldn't want to collect (and eat) mussels from these urban bays", he said.

More news: Golden Retriever Dog Delivers Litter Of Puppies At Florida Airport [Photos, Video]
More news: All eyes on Salah and Ronaldo ahead of Champions League final
More news: Govt can reduce petrol price up to Rs25 but won’t do: Chidambaram

She says mussels at a restaurant or store are healthy because they come from clean locations.

"What we eat and what we excrete goes into the Puget Sound", Jennifer Lanksbury, a biologist at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told CBS affiliate KIRO-7 in Seattle.

Besides oxycodone, mussels tested this year showed levels of antidepressants, heart drugs, antibiotics and the common chemotherapy drug melphalan, which is a potential carcinogen. "For instance, the juvenile Chinook salmon that are coming down the Duwamish River and into Elliott Bay for rearing are likely being exposed to these same chemicals".

Andy James, a research scientist at the PSI, noted in the statement that the levels of opioids detected in the mussels were thousands of times lower than a therapeutic dose in humans and would not be expected to affect the mussels, which don't break down the drug.

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

"Mussels have a simpler system than fish, and that makes them great for monitoring", Lanksbury said.