Are Discarded Prescription Drugs Poisoning Our Tap Water?

An article I recently read points out the possibility that there could be trace pharmaceuticals found in your water! To me this is almost ludicrous, however it is also believable.  The findings state that if you live in a heavily populated metropolis area, there is a good possibility that there are all kinds of tiny amounts of drugs including anticonvulsants, benzos, and antidepressants.  While the effects, if any, are unclear, it is apparent how this can occur.

Think about drugs being flushed down the toilet in a frenzy or in an attempt to stop using for the last time.  Further, an individual’s body really only has a chance to break down about 20% of the drugs so the rest get through into the water system and in some cases back into the our water supply.  Another study done by researchers at the University of Idaho created a lab-like situation of our drinking water supply with minnows and were let swim in this contaminated water for 18 days.

After the 18 days of swimming with SSRIs and anticonvulsants in trace amounts in their system their offspring had over 300 accounts of genetic mutation that showed signs of human neurological disorders.  These genetic mutations are part of what cause disease and it should be noted that in other studies similar findings have researchers and civilians concerned.  As Sudeep Chandra, associate professor at the University of Nevada stated, “Its inescapable, there’s enough global information now to confirm [trace pharmaceuticals] are affecting organisms and wildlife.”

This story has not gained too much attention for fear that widespread panic will spread among people, and without a clear-cut solution.  It has been stated as a worldwide problem, although the United States leads the way where almost half of our citizens are on at least one prescribed medicine.  Both bottled and tap water have the same implicit risks since at the end of the day they come from the same source.

Individuals trying to stay sober shouldn’t fear however, understanding the impact that we are having on the planet through our drug use did alarm me.  In my daily life I have made a point to be more aware of my surroundings and my impact on others have found that this has had a prolific positive effect on the people around me.  Before, when I was dealing with addiction, I couldn’t possibly be aware of my actions or who I was affecting, but today I am grateful that I can.

Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues like prescription pill abuse find effective treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy on

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