Florida Fish Test Positive for Drugs

Legacy Healing Center Blog

It is not a secret that many habitats, ecosystems, and animal species have been at risk for some time. History has shown countless examples of human disregard for the environment and the creatures that live within it. From pollution to overhunting, countless species have either ended up damaged, endangered, or completely extinct. When South Florida fish test positive for drugs, it should absolutely be a cause for alarm. Legacy Healing Center explains. 


Drug Tests on South Florida Fish Reveal Shocking Discovery

Starting in 2018, researchers from Florida International University began collecting biological samples from 93 Florida bonefish. Of the samples collected, an average of seven prescription drugs were isolated per specimen, and the highest amount found in a single fish was 17 drugs.1 The study was done on fish from Biscayne Bay in Miami Dade County. Specialized testing was made possible by the labs of Sweden’s Umeå University and the University of Agricultural Sciences.

Various forms of drugs were detected, including:1

  • Prostate treatment medication
  • Prescription pain pills
  • Antidepressants
  • Antibiotics
  • Blood pressure medication

Additionally, species that feed on bonefish were also sampled, testing positive for an average of 11 drugs per creature. These include shrimp, smaller fish, and crabs. While the phrase ‘fish test positive for drugs’ may seem absurd and even humorous to some, these numbers warn of a very real risk to our state’s ecosystems.


Why Proper Disposal of Pharmaceutical Waste Is Crucial

Studies show that over 4 billion prescriptions are filled in the US each year.2 Despite this massive number, there are very few regulations regarding the proper disposal of these substances. What is more concerning is the fact that many conventional water treatments do not effectively clean these chemicals, meaning they can remain active for an unknown period of time.

Regarding the animals of these ecosystems, these drugs can have a detrimental effect on their abilities to reproduce and survive. These contaminants may also hurt the fish’s social behaviors, feeding patterns, activity levels, and ability to properly migrate. In a state where water quality is so important to its economy and agriculture, the staggering numbers of drugs found in these animals should cause real concern. 

Luckily, legislators understand why proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste is crucial, and legislative support of water-quality improvements serves as a step in the right direction. The health of an ecosystem and the animals that live in it can have a direct effect on the people and resources dependent on them. In our own lives, it is worth evaluating the role that prescription medication plays, how reliant on them we are, and what to do with them should we have to stop using it for any reason.


Learn More With Our South Florida Drug Rehab

Drug addiction in Florida is no joke. Whether it is to an illicit substance or something prescribed by a doctor, allowing a dependency to form can be life-changing in the worst possible way. That is why Legacy offers effective treatment options for prescription drug addiction that can help patients reclaim their lives. With access to a variety of care levels and therapy methods, participants are guided down the road of recovery with compassion and support.


If you are looking for sensational addiction care, call Legacy’s Pompano treatment center at 954-388-8029 for more information.




  1. Salt Water Sportsman – South Florida Fish Test Positive for Drugs
  2. Statista – Total number of retail prescriptions filled annually in the United States from 2013 to 2025 (in billions)*


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