Drugs that pass into the water supply can alter the behavior of fish, according to a paper published today in Science magazine. Experiments using the same concentrations of benzodiazepines found downstream of a Swedish sewage treatment plant found that perch “became more antisocial, they became more active, and they were actually eating more”, possibly as a result of disinhibition that could also result in the fish exposing themselves to more danger.
Brodin, T., Fick, J., Klaminder, J. Dilute Concentrations of a Psychiatric Drug Alter Behavior of Fish from Natural Populations. Science February 15, 2013; 339(6121) 814-815
Of further interest:
Traces Of Anxiety Drugs May Make Fish Act Funny (NPR)
Psychiatric drugs prevalent in water, changing fish behavior (Fox News)
Drugged Fish Lose Their Inhibitions, Get the Munchies (Science)
Psychiatric Meds in Water Supply May Alter Fish Behavior (U.S. News)
Anxiety drug makes fish bolder and more asocial (Scientific American)