Apparently, there's a good reason the sands of South Beach are white. According to a recent report by the National Environmental Study of Recreational Shorelines (NESRS), the section of beach located between South Pointe Drive and Fourth Street is laced with faint traces of cocaine.
"It wasn't something we expected to find," says lead researcher Dr. Jeffrey Shiller. "We were actually working to establish a link between fecal pathogens and beach illness."
In the process, however, researchers discovered cocaine in the sand at a concentration of approximately 0.001 percent by weight, Shiller says.
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Asked how all of this white powder found its way onto our beaches, Shiller declined to speculate. However, veteran Miami Beach Police Det. Mike Diaz believes water drops used by narcotraffickers (as detailed in the recent New Times feature story "I, Max") could be one of the contributing causes of the contamination.
"Every once in a while, a badly packaged bale of cocaine breaks open in midair," Diaz explains. "It wouldn't take much for the wind to blow that powder over onto the shore."
So, will the NESRS findings lead to a parade of South Beach partiers hitting the sands with pocket mirrors, razor blades, and silver straws? "It's unlikely," Shiller says. "For just 25 milligrams of cocaine, an individual would need to ingest almost a ton of sand."
Not to mention, he adds, "There's a lot of fecal matter in that sand. Honestly, you'd be snorting more shit than cocaine."