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Taiwan's Rivers Are Flowing with the Drug Ecstasy

Scientists are pointing the finger at a giant music festival.
Ecstasy tablets shaped like cartoon characters seized in the U.S.
Ecstasy tablets shaped like cartoon characters seized in the U.S.Associated Press

If the rivers in southern Taiwan have ever put you in a strangely delightful mood, there's a good reason—turns out they're flowing with the drug Ecstasy. All right, so guzzling these murky waterways might not provide enough MDMA for a high. (It should have interesting effects on the gastrointestinal system.) But there's enough of the drug floating around to be detectable, as scientists at the National Sun Yat-sen University have discovered.

During one week in April 2011, the researchers identified in southern rivers the presence of not just ecstasy but ketamine, codeine, pseudoephedrine, caffeine, and prescription drugs for high cholesterol and urinary tract infections, according to a new paper in Environmental Science & Technology.