Cocaine river and MDMA by wild-wetting festival-goers

Large amounts of drugs have been found in a river that flows across the grounds of the British music festival Glastonbury. This puts a rare species of fish and other wildlife at risk, scientists report Tuesday. The narcotics are believed to have entered the watercourse via wild-wetting festival-goers.

The levels of cocaine and MDMA, raw material for xtc pills, detected in the water, are so high, according to experts, that they could harm wildlife downstream in the Whitelake River. Samples were taken from the river in 2019 when more than 200,000 visitors attended the five-day music festival. This showed that the MDMA concentrations in the river were four times higher the week after the festival.


particular, the amount of cocaine in the water was so high that they interfere with the life cycles of the rare and protected European eels in the area, according to the scientists. They urge the festival-goers to do their needs in the on-site toilets in the future, as the drugs are believed to have ended up in the water via wild-wetting visitors.

Dan Aberg, a postgraduate student at Bangor University in North Wales who collected the data, said all music festivals are โ€œundoubtedlyโ€ an โ€œannual source of illegal drug releaseโ€. โ€œUnfortunately, the proximity to a river at the Glastonbury Festival ensures that any drugs released by festival visitors have little time to break down into the soil before they enter the fragile freshwater ecosystem,โ€ said Aberg.

Due to corona, the music festival was cancelled both in 2020 and 2021. The organisers hope the event will continue next year.