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Study Finds Tiny Traces of Cocaine on 90% of U.S. Dollars


Chances are there’s cocaine in your wallet. Researchers looked at 234 bank notes from the U.S. and found that 90 percent had small traces of the illegal drug. Bills from larger cities, such as Baltimore, Boston and Detroit, were among those with the highest average cocaine levels. Salt Lake City had the lowest. Most of those analyzed from Washington had tiny amounts of cocaine.

In some large US cities evidence of “dirty money” is even stronger. Analysis of bank notes from Washington DC showed that 95 per cent of them carried minute amounts of the class A drug.

The study was the biggest ever undertaken of cocaine contamination of bank notes.

Paper money can pick up cocaine particles directly from users snorting the drug through rolled up bills, or from the handling of cash during drug deals.

Contamination can spread when bills are stacked together or run through counting machines.

Scientists tested bank notes from more than 30 cities in the US, Canada, Brazil, China and Japan.

They found “alarming” evidence of cocaine contamination in many areas. The US and Canada had the highest levels, with an average contamination rate of between 85 per cent and 90 per cent. China and Japan had the lowest rates of 20 per cent and 12 per cent.


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