The great confluence of cocaine abundance and the foodie moment for salmon in the US happened while Ronald Reagan was in office — around the time the movie Scarface came out and before Studio 54 finally closed for good. Now salmon and blow are together again these days, but not so much in New York clubs and the Hollywood Hills (though who’s to say) but in the Puget Sound. You can see absolutely gorgeous pictures of the Puget Sound, shots that will swiftly make anyone consider a Seattle sojourn. Underneath, however, it’s filled with garbage and drugs. Like too much of earth’s water.
A study of estuaries turned up this disheartening fact: the waters contained 81 drugs. The drugs were found in the tissue of the juvenile chinook salmon and the Pacific staghorn sculpin as a result of effluent from wastewater treatment plants. Besides cocaine in the young salmon, the Seattle Times in February listed this drug cocktail from the findings: “Flonase, Aleve and Tylenol. Paxil, Valium and Zoloft. Tagamet, OxyContin and Darvon. Nicotine and caffeine. Fungicides, antiseptics and anticoagulants. And Cipro and other antibiotics.” The list was not exhaustive.