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SYFY WIRE Cocaine Bear

They Really Should Make a "Cocaine Shark" Movie – Because They Already Exist in Florida

A viral news story about sharks on cocaine is making the rounds again. What better time for a Cocaine Bear spin-off?

By James Grebey
A great white shark bares its teeth with a wide open mouth.

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, a viral news story from this summer about sharks who are high on cocaine is making the rounds on TikTok. Perhaps it’s a sign from the shark gods that Cocaine Bear director Elizabeth Banks really should make that coked-out aquatic spin-off she joked about.

RELATED: Cocaine Bears ending and difference from the true story, explained

The TikTok in question is a clip from a local Orlando Fox news broadcast from the summer about scientists who suspect that sharks off the coast of the Sunshine State might be getting a little high from some of the cocaine that seeps into the ocean water, primarily from would-be smuggled packages of the illicit drug that accidentally make their way into the sea. In July of this summer, the Discovery Channel ran a documentary called, fittingly, Cocaine Sharks, as part of the channel’s annual Shark Week package. 

However, while it’s understandable that Discovery Channel producers, local news anchors, and TikTok users would circle their fins around such an exciting premise for a story, the reality is a bit more mundane. The sharks aren't going on extra-aggressive benders and chowing down on beachgoers with white powder all over their toothy mouths. They’re just acting a little erratically and it’s likely that cocaine, which finds itself in the water not too infrequently, attributed to this. It’s one of many man-made substances that seep into the water. The sunblock you apply washes into the sea and impacts wildlife, too. It’s just not as exciting as cocaine. 

Tiger Shark

“It’s a catchy headline to shed light on a real problem, that everything we use, everything we manufacture, everything we put into our bodies, ends up in our wastewater streams and natural water bodies, and these aquatic life we depend on to survive are then exposed to that,” Dr. Tracy Fanara, a Florida-based environmental engineer and lead member of the research team, explained in a story on The Guardian

Just because the “truth” and the “science” don’t point toward an insanely high shark making Jaws look like a goldfish doesn’t mean there’s not potential for a good movie there. The real-life story about the bear who ate a bunch of cocaine in the ‘80s isn’t as exciting or gory as the recent movie. (In reality, the bear just ... died.) Director Elizabeth Banks used it as inspiration for a great entry in the "killer animal attack" thriller subgenre. And, as she said in an interview with People this summer, there’s potential in a Cocaine Shark movie. 

RELATED: The Definitive Killer Animal Movie For Every Species

"If there's a great story, then sure," she said of the then-current headlines. "Jaws with cocaine, I don't see how that loses." 

If the TikTok interest is anything to go by, there are a lot people who would sink their teeth into a Cocaine Shark movie. 

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