Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Most money has traces of yayo on it:
Traces of cocaine taint up to 90 percent of paper money in the United States, a new study finds. A group of scientists tested banknotes from more than 30 cities in five countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, and Japan, and found “alarming” evidence of cocaine use in many areas.
U.S. and Canadian currency had the highest…levels, with an average contamination rate of between 85 and 90 percent, while Chinese and Japanese currency had the lowest, between 12 and 20 percent contamination.
The findings were presented yesterday at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C. Study leader Yuegang Zuo of the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth said that the high percentage of contaminated U.S. currency observed in the current study represents nearly a 20 percent jump in comparison to a similar study he conducted two years ago. “To my surprise, we’re finding more and more cocaine in banknotes,” Zuo said. Scientists have known for years that paper money can become contaminated with cocaine during drug deals and directly through drug use, such as snorting cocaine through rolled bills. Contamination can also spread to banknotes not involved in the illicit drug culture, because bills are processed in banks’ currency-counting machines. “I’m not sure why we’ve seen this apparent increase, but it could be related to the economic downturn, with stressed people turning to cocaine,” Zuo said.
Such studies are useful, he noted, because the data can help law enforcement agencies and forensic specialists identify patterns of drug use in a community.
So that means that everyone has handled it, one way or the other. The study also shows that hard times lead to white lines.