Coke is cheaper in the U.K. than in most other Western European countries. According to the Washington Post, the government estimates that 4.4 percent of 25 to 29-year-olds use cocaine. The drug is so pervasive in Britain, it’s now in the country’s drinking water.
The Independent reports that Britain’s Drinking Water Inspectorate (yes, that’s the organization’s real name) has found traces of cocaine’s metabolized form, benzoylecgonine, in the U.K.’s drinking water at four inspection sites.
The DWI also found trace amounts of epilepsy medication, ibuprofen, and a high amount of caffeine in the water at the test sites.
The Guardian spoke to DWI representative Sue Pennison, who points out that benzoyecgonine “is also an ingredient in a popular muscle-rub, and there’s no way of telling which it came from.” So Brits are either really high or really sore, or possibly both.
Steve Rolles, who works for the drug policy think tank Transform, told The Sunday Times that the findings were an indication of the widespread use of cocaine in Britain today. Rolles says,
“We have the near highest level of cocaine use in western Europe. It has also been getting cheaper and cheaper at the same time as its use has been going up.”
Don’t go thinking you can get a coke buzz off the U.K. tap water, though.
A report from Public Health England found that after the water had gone through intensive purification treatments, there was just four nanograms of benzoyecgonine per litre—which isn’t enough to “represent a danger to the public,” or get you high.