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Stream communities are affected by illicit drugs

Published On: 8/30/2016

New publication describes the fate and ecological effects of amphetamine on biofilm, seston, and aquatic insect communities


Scientists from the Cary Institute have published findings from field surveys and artificial stream experiments that demonstrate the effects of pharmaceuticals, including illicit drugs, on the natural ecosystem. The structure of the aquatic community was significantly altered and the timing of dipteran emergence increased. The presence of drugs in urban streams has ramifications for both the structure and function of freshwater communities.

You can listen to a brief report here:


For more information about the study, go to:

Lee, Sylvia S., Alexis M. Paspalof, Daniel D. Snow, Erinn K. Richmond, Emma J. Rosi-Marshall, and John J. Kelly, 2016. Occurrence and Potential Biological Effects of Amphetamine on Stream Communities, Environmental Science & Technology Article ASAP


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