Trout can become hooked on drugs

Brown trout

The Times reports that fish can become addicted to drugs like people. Dr. Pavel Horky, from Prague, in the Journal of Experiment Biology, tells us that where you have meth users their drug gets into the water and brown trout show all the signs of addiction to methamphetamine just like people. The scientists found that when brown trout are exposed to methamphetamine in water, they choose to swim in that water rather than clean water. They also moved less when they were taken off the drug.

Brown trout

Brown trout. Image by James Hills from Pixabay

Methamphetamine is highly addictive and it is found in waterways in many places around the world. The research found that when fish ingest the drug, they show signs of withdrawal when deprived of it, indicating addiction. The reason why these drugs end up in streams and rivers is because they pass through wastewater systems which are not designed to extract the source of drugs.

The research included holding 60 trout in a tank spiked with methamphetamine. The concentration of the drug was at 1 mcg/L. The control was 60 trout in a meth-free tank. The fish were then placed in a tank containing two streams of water: one with methamphetamine and one without it. They were able to swim between these two streams freely. In 50.5% of observations the trout that had spent two months swimming in methamphetamine waters were found on the methamphetamine side of the tank compared with only 41.5% for control trout. This was interpreted as a sign of addiction in the fish. They were less mobile for the first 96 hours after being removed from exposure to methamphetamine.

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