Cocaine on Money: Drug Found on 90% of U.S. Bills

By chillinwill · Aug 17, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    f you live in the United States or Canada, chances are you have cocaine in your wallet.

    Nearly nine out of ten bills circulating in the U.S. and its northern neighbor are tainted with cocaine, according to what's being called the most definitive research to date on the subject.

    What's more, researchers were surprised to find hints that more Americans are using the illegal drug, said study leader Yuegang Zuo of the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth.

    In a similar study by the same team in 2007, 67 percent of U.S. bills were found to be tainted with cocaine. The new study puts the percentage at 85 to 95—a jump of roughly 20 percent, Zuo said.

    The drug gets on paper money during drug transactions and when people roll bills to snort cocaine powder, Zuo said.

    Stress spurred by the worldwide financial crisis may be driving people to abuse cocaine, one of the most common illegal drugs in the world, Zuo said in a phone interview.

    The new findings could "help raise public awareness about cocaine use and lead to greater emphasis on curbing its abuse," Zuo said in a follow-up email.

    Cocaine Country

    Part of the reason the new study is so complete, Zuo said, is because the team used new equipment, a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer, which doesn't ruin the money—allowing the scientists to test more bills without breaking the bank.

    The team collected banknotes from the Brazil, Canada, the U.S., China, and Japan.

    With 5.8 million people having used the drug at least once in 2007, the U.S. is the world's biggest cocaine market, according to the 2009 UN World Drug Report.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the U.S.—along with Canada—had the highest percentage of cocaine-permeated bills in the study.

    Of the 234 U.S. bills collected in 17 large and small cities, nearly 90 percent had traces of cocaine, especially in larger cities such as Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit. Ninety-five percent of the dollars found in Washington, D.C., had cocaine embedded in their fibers—among the highest in the study.

    (See pictures of cocaine-cultivating country in National Geographic magazine.)
    In keeping with their reputations for having relatively low rates of cocaine use, China and Japan yielded bills with relatively low levels of cocaine contamination.

    Asian drug-taking practices could conceivably be partly responsible for the lower percentages of cocaine-tainted bills. Zuo doesn't know, for example, whether Asian cocaine users inhale through rolled bills as many Western users do.

    "It is for sure that drug abuse in different countries and regions has different use patterns which may affect cocaine contamination on money," he said via email.

    Regardless of where you live, though, there's little chance of getting buzzed off your bills, Zuo said. Even in the U.S. and Canada, the concentrations are simply too small.

    Findings today at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C.

    Christine Dell'Amore
    August 16, 2009
    National Geographic

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  1. dyingtomorrow
    Yeah right... I was thinking just the opposite. Your average dumbass is going to take this to mean 90% of people are doing cocaine. LOL

    "Hey, everyone else is doing cocaine, and it seems like they fucking love it, so why don't I?"

  2. Mickeld
    This study is foolish. For one it specifically states that only 234 american bills were used. So because most of those had cocaine residue on them it means 90% of the rest of the bills also have cocaine on them? How about instead just saying 90% of all US bills have blow on them, 90% of the BILLS USED had blow on them? SWIM knows its a common practice to do that with Coke and get it on the bill but for criminy sakes who cares?
  3. fnord
    So thats what keeps our lawmakers running!
  4. Hollow Hippie
    You would think with all the cocaine they are using they would do more.
  5. Rightnow289
    That's how surveys work mostly. Most only go up to about a test group of 1000. If they want the figures to sway more their way they go with a lower number though your right.

    Also these aren't new findings I read this years ago.
  6. Smirnoff
    Most U.S. currency laced with cocaine

    Roll 'em if you got 'em.

    The value of a buck may be down, but as a tool to snort cocaine, U.S. currency is highly valued.
    [IMGR=" "][/IMGR]
    Cocaine traces are found on up to 90 percent of paper money in the USA, according to scientists who recently presented their findings to the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

    After scientists tested banknotes from more than 30 cities in five countries, including the U.S., Canada, Brazil, China and Japan they found cocaine tainted bills from the U.S. and Canada 85 to 90 percent of the time.

    Chinese and Japanese currency had the lowest contamination rate.
    That's right. You've got drugs in your wallet.

    However, none of the traces on any of the bills were enough to generate health or legal concerns.

    Nor was there enough residue for anyone to get loopy from a tainted bill.
    Apparently Yuegang Zuo the study leader from the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth ran the test before and the current sample represented a nearly 20 percent increase in cocaine contamination.

    Experts say money can become cocaine coated during drug deals and through drug use -- snorting coke through rolled bills. Contamination can spread via banknotes themselves when bills, not involved in coke use or sales, are processed in legitimate currency-counting machines.

    Zuo surmised the increase may be related to the economic downturn and the stress reducing qualities of drug use.

    The highest levels of cocaine where found on bills from Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit and Washington, D.C. The lowest average cocaine levels in U.S. currency appeared on bills collected from Salt Lake City.

    There, that residue was mostly just salt (We kid.).
  7. chillinwill
  8. Smirnoff
    Re: Most U.S. currency laced with cocaine

    god again... I used the search engine and found nothing how come.. this time I REALLY looked for similar post... damit... but anyway maybe these two threads could be mearged...

    again I'm really sorry
  9. chillinwill
    Re: Most U.S. currency laced with cocaine

    Lol the only way I found it was because I remember posting it. It took me about 10 minutes to find it as well....Just had to search under the Drug News Forum thoroughly. It's not that big of a deal as your article can easily be merged in with the old one
  10. Smirnoff
    Re: Most U.S. currency laced with cocaine

    I know its not big of a problem but its just pissing me off....
  11. lifer
    media nonsense.
  12. Future
    235 bills used... out of how many in the US? Plus what city and state was this being research from... this proves nothing much.
  13. chillinwill
    These days, everyone is conscious about germs -- from door handles, to water fountains, even down to the cash in your pocket.
    40/29 News took an inside look at your money and how dirty it really is.

    Every where it goes, it changes hands -- from the bank, to your pocketbook and back out into circulation.

    Money can be one of the dirtiest things people can touch.

    “I was always told that money was dirty. You know, when you were handing it to the cash registers and things like this,” said Suzy Blalock.

    But just how dirty is it really?

    40/29 News decided to put it to the test and got three bills -- a $1, a $5 and a $20 bill -- from three places -- a convenience store, a grocery store and the bank -- to test them, first, for germs.

    40/29 News swabbed each bill for bacteria and sent it off to the lab.

    According to the test results, 40/29 News found that bacteria were present in more than half of the bills.

    “We had five of the nine samples, of the bills, had bacterial growth,” said microbiologist Gordon Whitbeck. “Low counts. The highest we had was a 40, colony forming on the swab on the surface and that was on a $20 denomination.”

    Whitbeck said while five bills did test positive for bacteria, the amount of bacteria found was too small to pose an immediate threat to its holder.

    “These are the common bacteria that all human beings have on our hands as we transfer money back and forth to each other,” said Whitbeck.

    Along with the bacteria study, 40/29 News also conducted a test to see if illegal drugs had tainted the bills.

    With an undercover drug detective, 40/29 News found that every single bill was contaminated with cocaine.

    “Looks to me like on every bill we have in front of us, we've got some sort of positive test,” said the undercover drug detective who asked to conceal his identity.

    The bluish-green tint that appeared on the test paper shows that traces of cocaine are present in cash.

    But that's not the only drug 40/29 News found.

    “Some of the other bills are showing a purplish color, which tells me that there's methamphetamine residue on those bills there as well,” said the undercover drug detective.

    “Why is that the case? Why would every bill that we get have some sort of trace of drug on them?” asked a 40/29 News reporter.

    “One would think it's used for some sort of drug paraphernalia. Maybe used to snort or cut some sort of powdered drug, which is not the case,” said the undercover drug detective. “It can be transferred from hands to the money, and when the money gets put into a counter, an ATM machine, a till, a register of some sort, then those particles can transfer that way.”

    Out of all the places 40/29 News got the cash from, the convenience store bills were found to be the most contaminated.

    But even from the bank, those brand new bills were still tainted with drugs.

    “Regardless of where you get your bills from, short of what you get from the Federal Reserve, they are contaminated,” said the undercover drug detective.

    It just goes to show that no matter where you get your cash, the term dirty money is for real.

    “It really is dirty. Obviously, it's dirty,” said Blalock.

    According to a study done by the American Chemical Society, 90 percent of all U.S. paper currency contains traces of cocaine.

    Despite the high percentage of cocaine-contaminated cash, experts said the amounts are too small to cause health risks or legal concerns.

    November 9, 2009
    4029 TV
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