Cocaine on Money

An article in the April 2008 issue of Trends in Analytical Chemistry discusses the "state-of-the-art in the analysis of cocaine on banknotes." Apparently scientific interest in this subject has grown enormously. Before 2003 there was only an average of 1.8 papers per year on the subject. Now there's an average of 4.5 papers per year about it.

The most interesting factoid from the article is the amount of cocaine found on money in different countries. Predictably, America leads the pack. (Yay! We're Number One!!!):
The country with the highest contamination of banknotes due to cocaine is the USA (with mean value levels in the range 2.86–28.75 μg cocaine/note, depending on the year and the city)... the highest cocaine levels in Europe can be found in Spanish Euros (€), where 889 μg of cocaine was found in a banknote and the mean concentration was 155 μg/note (n = 16), compared with the lower levels of cocaine found on German Euros (€) (5 times less cocaine per note) and Irish banknotes (€)... semi-quantitative data from 1995 and 1999 suggest that 51% and 40%, respectively, of UK banknotes (£) in general circulation were cocaine contaminated with levels of 0.0011 μg/note, the upper level found on confiscated money being 0.0029 μg/note. In the case of Swiss banknotes, it was found that 6% of the currency (356 samples) was contaminated with cocaine (with concentrations higher than 1 ng/note).

The high cocaine levels on Spanish Euros (€) could be explained by Spain being the main entry point for cocaine coming into the European Union. This seems to be confirmed in the UNO report data regarding cocaine seizures in Europe in 2005, where Spain leads the list, followed by Portugal and The Netherlands, and in data about annual prevalence of abuse as a percentage of the population age, where Spain also leads the list of European countries, followed by England, Wales and Italy.
     Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 06, 2008
     Category: Drugs | Science

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