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Up To 90 Percent of US Money Has Traces of Cocaine

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the having-more-fun-than-me dept.

The Almighty Buck 441

mmmscience writes "Scientists have found that up to 90% of US paper money has some cocaine contamination, up from the 67% mark measured two years ago. Looking at bills from 17 cities, it's no surprise that the city with the highest level was Washington DC, where up to 95% of bills gathered there tested positive. From a global standpoint, both Canada and Brazil tested rather high (85% and 80%, respectively), but China and Japan were well behind the curve at 20% and 12%. The researchers hope that studies such as these will be of help to law enforcement agencies that are attempting to understand the growth and flow of drug use in communities."

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441 comments

In all fairness (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092829)

Apples and oranges. Japan doesn't have Lindsey Lohan as a citizen.

Re:In all fairness (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29092857)

Yes, but at some point in time, I'm sure Keith Richards passed through...

Re:In all fairness (-1, Redundant)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092975)

Snopes [snopes.com] bet /. by 2 years
and the US Gumbiment bet them by 24 years!

In one 1985 study done by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on the money machines in a U.S. Federal Reserve district bank, random samples of $50 and $100 bills revealed that a third to a half of all the currency tested bore traces of cocaine.

Great Scott!

Re:In all fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093179)

And the Snopes article is informative.

So why is this on Slashdot and not in my junk email?

Re:In all fairness (5, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093271)

Ummm... the article isn't introducing this as a new issue. Even the article summary makes that clear. The article is about the increases in contamination.

The point of the article is that the rate of contamination is increasing. The Snopes article makes mention of 1985 being 33 to 50% contamination rates. The article summary refers to a 2-year-old study that puts contamination closer to 67%, and now the most recent study puts it at around 90%. So the point is that the contamination has increased.

Re:In all fairness (1)

2names (531755) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093411)

Well, thanks a lot. After reading your informative post I have nothing left to gripe about. Fun hater. ~

Re:In all fairness (4, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093585)

So the point is that the contamination has increased.

Perhaps, but that may not mean that the cocaine industry is increasing, if it was say 40% in 1985, pretend that same 40% is still in circulation, the now 90% contamination may simply be from newer/more bills touching the original 40%... how old is your wallet? When is the last time you bothered to wash it? (especially since most are leather) I bet quite a few people have wallets/purses/etc that are 10 years old, all with "traces" of cocaine in them spreading to new bills put in them.

What about other factors like ATM and cash registers, the bags the money is put in by banks for travel/dispersal, when is the last time they were washed, most of those are (the machines as well) are probably a decade old or more.

Given the Cost of the Substance ... (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092861)

Looking at bills from 17 cities, it's no surprise that the city with the highest level was Washington DC, where up to 95% of bills gathered there tested positive. From a global standpoint, both Canada and Brazil tested rather high (85% and 80%, respectively), But China and Japan were well behind the curve at 20% and 12%. The researchers hope that studies such as these will be of help to law enforcement agencies that are attempting to understand the growth and flow of drug use in communities.

Nope, sorry, has nothing to do with growth and flow. Merely that China and Japan are better at properly labeling and storing their valuable narcotics and opiates. Given the cost of the substance, you would think the American & Canadian coke heads would be better at keeping it separate from other things. But when you need to carry only coke and money with you ... the cost of that second briefcase probably outweighs the amount of coke you lose just shoving money and coke into one briefcase. Being able to do it in a frenzied haphazard manner isn't just how it's done in Martin Scorsese films, it's a necessary skill of coke users and traffickers. I wonder what "essence of G-string" levels respective countries have on their smallest denominational bills?

Re:Given the Cost of the Substance ... (2, Informative)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092945)

I think you misunderstand. It's not the carrying of cocaine in your wallet/pocket/purse that contaminates the dosh, it's the snorting of it through a rolled up note.

Re:Given the Cost of the Substance ... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093101)

Which means that if there suddenly is a law that invalidates all money contaminated with cocaine things would get interesting.

Re:Given the Cost of the Substance ... (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093245)

... for the banks or vendors or anywhere else with automated machines that spread dust from one bill all over their equipment and any subsequent bills ever processed.

Re:Given the Cost of the Substance ... (4, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093201)

I would imagine that its both that AND then having that money rub up against other money as it goes into you wallet and then to the bank, and then through mechanical counting machines. How sensitive is the test? How many bills could one "nose straw" collect?

This is, btw, nothing new. I read this same statistic in an article on civil property seizure 10 years ago. Its been known for years.... the police can confiscate any cash you have, at any time. If even one bill tests positive for cocaine, its all suspect.

But its civil court, so no need to worry. They have to show a "preponderance of evidence" that it was used for something illegal. ALl you have to do is prove that it wasn't. Your not going to let essentially being guilty until proven innocent deter you are you? No worries though, its not criminal.... so all you lose is your cash.

Sounds fair doesn't it?

-Steve

Re:Given the Cost of the Substance ... (1)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093097)

Errrmmm.....the coke gets on the money, mostly, from the money buying used as a straw to snort with.....

Re:Given the Cost of the Substance ... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093347)

Weird. How do they snort their cocaine if not with a rolled up bill? If they aren't doing cocaine how can they have stock brokers or film actors? If they are doing heroin instead, where is the surge in jazz musician population that we should expect?

So... (5, Insightful)

SigILL (6475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092865)

Don't get caught with US dollars on you in Dubai.

Re:So... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093057)

It really really pisses me off at the Canadian border.... I cross it frequently and have been stopped several times for the "bonus interrogation". Every single time they run my money through their machine and, of course, it comes up positive for cocaine. Then they try to intimidate me about it.

And every single time, I say "good luck with that in court -- I'll have my lawyer test the judge's wallet and your wallet. ALL the money is contaminated because the drug war is an utter failure. Are we done yet?"

Now in Dubai... hell, any other country, I'd probably throw away my wallet, put all money in electronics, and arrive naked any more. Stupid, stupid world....

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

johannesg (664142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093079)

Don't get caught with US dollars on you in Dubai.

That's a damn good point, actually... So why isn't there a constant stream of arrests in that country, given that they are able to detect absolutely minute traces of drugs on a person? There must be plenty of people travelling through there carrying dollar bills.

Well, that explains something. (4, Funny)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092893)

This has to be why people love the smell of their money. Just hold it up to your nose and sniff... and you get a minor contact high from the drugs.

Re:Well, that explains something. (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093117)

What if I only run plastics and coins?

It's hard to snort credit cards and coins!

Re:Well, that explains something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093335)

Credit cards(along with drivers licenses) are often used to chop up the coke lines. It's common for cokeheads to lick the card after they're done snorting the rails.

BTW, the best beer to drink with a coke high [wikipedia.org] is Budweiser.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Ass Pennies (4, Funny)

hduff (570443) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093269)

Dude! Dont' sniff it! Don't forget "ass pennies". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ass_pennies#Ass_Pennies [wikipedia.org] "I've been sticking $30 in pennies up my ass for the past 11 years! That's 3,000 pennies a day; 21,000 pennies a week; 1,092,000 pennies a year! To date that's 12,012,000 pennies, 8 times the population of Nebraska. Those pennies were in my ass! You think you're better than me? Oh, you're not better than me. You handle my ass pennies every day. You pick up my ass pennies for good luck. You throw my ass pennies in fountains and make wishes on them. You give my ass pennies to your little daughter to buy gumballs with. You handle my ass pennies every day! All of you! You all handle my ass pennies! Oh, I laugh at you before you can laugh at me. Because your pennies have been in my ass. You hear me? Your pennies have been in my ass!"

I think maybe the Fed got the wrong idea... (5, Funny)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092901)

when Bush recommended an 'economic stimulus'.

Re:I think maybe the Fed got the wrong idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093537)

HAHA

Hrmm (5, Funny)

acehole (174372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092931)

I roll up 100 dollar bills to snort up other 100 dollar bills. Its a vicious circle.

Re:Hrmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093009)

Hey, that's the cure for AIDS!

Re:Hrmm (4, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093535)

I roll up 100 dollar bills to snort up other 100 dollar bills. Its a vicious circle.

How do you snort your last 100 dollar bill?

Cross Contamination anyone? (4, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092939)

Please, could it not simply be that when the money is bundled together it is cross-contaminated?

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (1, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093037)

Also, money goes through a lot of hands. The suggestion is that 90% of Americans are cocaine users, which is patently false.

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (5, Informative)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093175)

No, the suggestion is that most of the paper money in America has been in contact with cocaine users.

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (4, Informative)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093317)

Which is also very likely false. Money just doesn't flow in that way. On the other hand, it seems likely that most automated money processing machines have been in contact with contaminated bills. And I expect that those machines aren't regularly thoroughly cleaned and contaminate all subsequent bills, which in turn contaminate subsequent machines.

"Traces" has no definition above one molecule (or could be even less if you're into holistic medicine /grin). One bill handled with coke-covered hands or used to snort could contaminate tens of thousands of other bills with "traces" of coke.

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093577)

Which is also very likely false. Money just doesn't flow in that way.

That's true. I'd imagine that the typical money flow for a coke-head looks like one of the following:

1) Rich coke addict receives money from daddy for "school". Money is turned over to dealer in exchange for some blow. Dealer spends the money on bling.
2) Poor coke addict receives welfare check from the government. Check is cashed at local check cashing place for the perfectly reasonable fee of 20%. Money is turned over to dealer in exchange for some blow. Dealer spends the money on bling.

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (2, Interesting)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093221)

Actually, it's suggesting that there's a 90% chance any single bill has gone through a cocaine user's hands at least once in its lifetime.

If an average bill had changed hands, say, 10 times, then it comes to about 20% rather than 90%. (80% of non-contamination ^ 10 people = 10.7% chance it's still not contaminated. Thus about 90% of bills would be contaminated in this case.)

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (1)

onion2k (203094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093285)

That's not the suggestion at all. It's implying that, at some point in time, 90% of the notes in circulation has been used to take cocaine. That could be by 1 very prolific addict for all we know. The article doesn't give any indication.

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093305)

It would explain why 90% of them are dumb as hell and drive like idiots.

Obviously. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093065)

It's obvious that this is the case. Cocaine on the money gets on surfaces in banks, hands, other money that it's sitting in cash registers with. These aren't huge amounts of cocaine on the bills, these are tiny trace amounts. However, even the cross contamination helps you know how and where the money is getting contaminated, just as a water sample downstream can tell you how far a pollutant has traveled.

Nobody seriously believes that 90% of money has gone through drug trafficker's hands and pockets.

Re:Obviously. (2, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093309)

Nobody seriously believes that 90% of money has gone through drug trafficker's hands and pockets.

except your local 'law & order' politician looking to score votes in the upcoming election. And here in the States, there's always an upcoming election...

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093147)

Please, could it not simply be that when the money is bundled together it is cross-contaminated?

It is exactly that. And also when it gets run through counting machines. It would be interesting to see the results of gas chromatograph testing of swabs taken from counting machines. I bet they'd be overwhelmingly positive for contamination with residual cocaine traces.

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093213)

Indeed. Probably a money counting machine encounters 1 bill that's been sniffed through, and that contaminates all the bills that go through that counting machine for the next few weeks.

Mod parent up (1)

Shandalar (1152907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093253)

Yes. The reporter is stupid and annoying when claiming that the cause of coke on the cash is "well understood" and then proceeds to claim it's from (a) everyone rolling up dollar bills and snorting it, and (b) money changes hands during a drug transaction, "of course". Problems are, (a) dollar bills are probably filthier than coke and everyone knows it; and (b) what, is the coke not in plastic bags? Is the money transported along with loose cocaine rather than being exchanged for cocaine?

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (2, Funny)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093383)

If it true that 20% of the people control 80% of the money, then it is clear that the those 20% are cocaine users, while the rest of us use crack, which is mostly filler ingredients. And, since we don't have the money, this explains why crack is so prosecuted. No defense money means that the public prosecutors don't have to work very hard to get a conviction.

Re:Cross Contamination anyone? (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093405)

The cross-contamination comes from high-speed counting devices in banks becoming contaminated. They then spread the cocaine to other bills as they're counted. This isn't anything new. I think I first heard about this at least 15 years ago.

The article is about the contamination rate going up. The implication is drug use is up. The other possibility is the spreading mechanism is more efficient for whatever reason. (Different machines, less machines? Stickier cocaine?). Assuming drug usage is up without knowing if anything else has changed in this uncontrolled experiment is potentially very misleading.

I'm more worried (5, Funny)

urdak (457938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092949)

I don't know about you, but the cocaine isn't the thing that worries me - I'm more worried about the fact that 90% of the bills I use have been up someone's nose!

So guys... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092957)

I see Plan Columbia has been a smashing success, just like all the other attempts at Prohibition 2.0: This Time Without Constitutional Justification.

Re:So guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093233)

Considering that drug prohibition pulls billions of dollars per year through the business of government, I'd say that drug prohibition most certainly is a smashing success.

You're not sitting at the top of the power pyramid, are you?

Re:So guys... (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093275)

I see Plan Columbia has been a smashing success, just like all the other attempts at Prohibition 2.0: This Time Without Constitutional Justification.

That's not true. If I'm growing pot in my backyard for my own consumption it's clearly going to affect interstate commerce and is therefore subject to regulation by the Federal Government.

I mean, think about it. If I'm growing it myself then I'm not buying it from someone else who got it across state lines. We also shouldn't forget the impact on interstate commerce that comes from the munchies. It's a safe assumption the ingredients in those Doritos and Big Macs had to cross one or more state lines at some point during production.

Re:So guys... (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093463)

Hmm, given that we're supposed to want renewable energy so that we don't have to send oil money to foreign countries, shouldn't the gov't be supporting local (US) drug operations so all that drug money doesn't leave the country?

Re:So guys... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093495)

shouldn't the gov't be supporting local (US) drug operations so all that drug money doesn't leave the country?

No, because it's much better that the money goes to violent Mexican cartels and the Taliban than to see it go to American farmers and industry.

.006 micrograms? (5, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29092959)

These types of studies come out pretty often, usually with the same hysterical tone. When you start talking about stuff in such tiny amounts then just about any substance can be found. There's cocaine in the air in many places if you go as low as parts per billion. There's uranium in the water. There's the ash of dead people in your air. There's fly eggs in your soup. There's pesticides in your baby's bottle.

If anything, this is more interesting in our ability to detect small amounts of things than a social statement.

Re:.006 micrograms? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093053)

And if you were in the elevator with me this morning, you got more than trace amounts of late night taco bell.

Re:.006 micrograms? (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093153)

If anything, this is more interesting in our ability to detect small amounts of things than a social statement.

Oh well I wouldn't be too sure that there aren't any social statements to be made. After all, they didn't detect cocaine in most Japanese money, so it's not like its the effect of some world-wide minuscule cocaine miasma, or at least its one that varies by location and thus presumably by quantity in the country.

So what this tells me about our societies is that Japan is an untapped market! Oh man! I'm on the next flight to Tokyo via L.A. Though I guess I'll have to practice my balloon-swallowing first.

Re:.006 micrograms? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093359)

So what this tells me about our societies is that Japan is an untapped market!

Shit. Yet another growth industry that Asia is going to beat us out on :(

Re:.006 micrograms? (1)

jeremywc (865836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093447)

There's that and the fact that only 234 bills were tested. All from major cities? That's a horrible sample size. Based on that, the numbers appear to be grossly inflated to me.

Re:.006 micrograms? (1)

fprintf (82740) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093597)

Perhaps this article is why they tell you never to put money in your mouth. Not only do you get lots of germs ingested, but you all get trace amounts of coke. Suck on 1000 quarters to get a little high.

tested high (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29092989)

From a global standpoint, both Canada and Brazil tested rather high...

Hah!

what denominations? (4, Insightful)

greywire (78262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093001)

I am curious what the break down is on the types of bills being used. Is there a preference for $20 or $100 bills? I always preferred the $100, partly for show, but also because they tended to be crisper..

Cocaine on bill != haddirect contact with coke (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093019)

Bill's can get cocaine on them without ever having been directly in contact with cocaine. The most common way this occurs is if a bill has cocaine on it and then it goes in or out of some sort of feeder machine (such as that on an ATM), it can leave small amounts of coke residue that then rub off on other bills. Given that, part of the disparity may be due to different types of ATMs and similar technology. Similarly, it isn't implausible that the increase in the percentage of bills with cocaine on them (as reported in TFA) might be due to some set of subtle technological changes that make it easier for cocaine to spread from bill to bill.

Re:Cocaine on bill != haddirect contact with coke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093409)

Bill's can get cocaine

Is this some new site by the icanhascheezburger people?

Stop trolling with numbers (2, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093073)

Scientists have found that up to 90% of US paper money has some cocaine contamination, up from the 67% mark measured two years ago.

The contamination "spreading" is solely due to clean bills getting in contact with contaminated bills. 90% of the US dollars have not been used to sniff cocaine. If 67% were contaminated two years ago it is only logical that in time the rest would be bound to become contaminated as well, even if cocaine had seized to exist completely.

The interesting thing with it (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093195)

is that it really shows how much the dollar circulates vs. other moneys. Yuan and yen are spread all over the world (though China is pushing for it to be) which would explain why these are at the bottom.

Cocaine, ho-hum, what about radiologicals? (4, Insightful)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093081)

There are so many sources of cocaine and like substances in our society that it's no wonder it can be found everywhere (looking at currency is more sexy than say, doorknobs, and I'd imagine the same level of contamination), legal and otherwise. Benzocaine, for example, is a common numbing agent for oral use that is in the same chemical family. So is novacaine. They just don't have the popular cachet, but I'd be pleasantly surprised if the testing used could distinguished between them. I imagine if you tested currency for benzodiazepines (valium and the like) or SSRIs (Prozac and the like) or beta blockers or digitalis or any commonly prescribed drug, you'd find near 100% contamination as well. BFD. People use cocaine and other drugs both medically and recreationally. News at 11.

I'd be much, much more interested to know how much of the currency showed evidence of, say, uranium or plutonium. Those are supposed to be scarce, really, really scarce.

Snopes says... (4, Informative)

sidb (530400) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093091)

Snopes says [snopes.com]... true. Wow, that almost never happens--I had always assumed this was a myth. The Snopes article, BTW, is much more informative and detailed than the one linked in the Slashdot post.

Re:Snopes says... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093357)

I'd HOPE the Snopes article would be more informative and detailed.

Snopes = exhaustively researched articles done by people who take the time to get it right as much as they possibly can, with no need to be "first to post" to get credit.

Slashdot = geeks finding interesting articles and rushing to get them posted so they don't get deleted as duplicates. If a /. user waits until they find a good-quality well-researched article, it'll get smacked down as a duplicate because 500 slashdotters would have posted the crappy "breaking news" version hoping to be first. :)

wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093099)

Sounds like some of my bills from the mid 80's made it here.

Reasons why China and Japan are so low. (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093129)

I'm not sure sure we should look at those nations as a way to improve law enforcement.

I say this because the reason it is low in Japan is the high quality of life and import restriction. (Its an island and everything goes through customs)

And China... Well China is China.

Not only is the fact drugs are taboo over there (remember the Opium wars) it is just that there system of law enforcement is quite different from ours.

And that perhaps no one has ever though to use a Yuan to snort coke through? Maybe they all smoke it over there? Inject it?

Or perhaps they use coins at the commonest level of transactions. Who knows... But for whatever reason you cannot simply say that law enforcement needs to look at those nations to why drugs on paper money is lower.

Either way, I doubt prohibition is going to resolve the US's drug problem. Black markets will always exist so perhaps it should be regulated and taxed.

Re:Reasons why China and Japan are so low. (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093557)

Or perhaps they use coins at the commonest level of transactions. Who knows...

No. 100 RMB is the highest denomination note, and it's too small relative to the price of things.
You end up carrying large wads of 100s with you everywhere you go.

The only surprising thing... (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093139)

The only thing that surprises me about this is that it implies that 10% of US money doesn't have traces of cocaine...

Effect On Inflation (4, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093143)

The extra street value of cocaine being added to the dollar should make it stronger against other currencies.

Obama collecting email addresses? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093165)

So... out of curiosity... is Slashdot, that stalwart protector and alerter of civil rights violations when it comes to technology and government illicitly collecting your data, going to do an article on Obama's email address collection that it's now suddenly reversed course on after such hue and outcry?

Legalize Cannabis, not Cocaine! (0, Flamebait)

Candid88 (1292486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093169)

I just can't understand how this story can be tagged "legalize it" at all.

Whilst I 100% agree that soft drugs like Cannabis should be legalized and can't understand how a substance far less dangerous than alcohol & tobacco can be banned, the same is simply not true for Cocaine.

Cocaine is NOT a harmless drug, it kills people and robs them of a liveliehood at a far greater rate than almost any other drug. It is insanely addictive and knowing a couple of friends who have struggled with it I can only hope for your own sake you never try it.

Yes it will make you feel the best you've ever felt before - for about 10 minutes (followed by hours of feeling downbeat) - but in the process it will taint your enjoyment of everything else in life.

Re:Legalize Cannabis, not Cocaine! (4, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093433)

Cocaine is NOT a harmless drug, it kills people and robs them of a liveliehood at a far greater rate than almost any other drug. It is insanely addictive and knowing a couple of friends who have struggled with it I can only hope for your own sake you never try it.

Sorry, but I could say the exact same thing about liquor. Ever been to an AA meeting? Alcohol ruins more lives than any other drug in the USA. And yet it's legal.

Re:Legalize Cannabis, not Cocaine! (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093445)

Cocaine (the old stuff) is...pretty harmful. I'll certainly grant you that.

However, it's also orders of magnitude less harmful than heroin or crystal meth, and for that matter, less addictive than crack. (Essentially the same stuff in a different delivery vehicle.)

More to the point, regardless of how dangerous these drugs are, the 'legalize it' attitude generally comes from the desire to _lower_ street drug use. If crack addicts could get safe drugs and access to treatment, rather than drano-laced rocks and the threat of years in jail for trying to get clean, we might actually reduce the problem. (Also, this doesn't even touch on the effect of cutting into organized crime's biggest industry.)

I don't think anyone is encouraging coke (or crack, or speed, or horse, or...) use, but more people are coming to believe that it can be more effectively (and safely) controlled within the law, rather than without.

Re:Legalize Cannabis, not Cocaine! (4, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093467)

Dude, drug prohibition is bad no matter which drug you choose. Even heroin, as bad as it is, isn't ha;f as bad as the prohibition that tries to ban it.

It all based on the idea that if you make people desperate enough, they will quit. Not entirely incorrect, some recent research shows that people quit drugs almost entirely for practical reasons.

What they ignore is the problems caused by making people desperate are worst than the original addiction. Swiss studies have shown that simply providing heroin at a price similar to what it would be on the open market decreased the amount of income that the study subjects took in through other illegal activities by 90%, in a few weeks.

Its been found they can hold down jobs (much like many alcoholics do), they can afford their habbit, afford food, etc.

Simply put, prohibition is a broken model from the very start. Cannabis is simply the largest (more cannabis smokers in the US than all other illegal drug users combined), and the one with the most ridiculous lies spread about it.

-Steve

Drugs (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093183)

Drugs are a CASH business. It is one of the last CASH ONLY businesses out there. Most other people are taking Checks, Visa, and Debit Cards as primary sources of transactions, leaving Cash a fourth level barely used.

I would not suprise me to see this trend go upwards, and eventually some idiot politician will suggest that we get rid of cash. Which will be followed up by some Christian suggesting that is the Mark of the Beast ....

Re:Drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093421)

some Christian suggesting that is the Mark of the Beast ....

Yeah, one of these days it'll be trendy to walk around with a $6.66 bill pasted to your forehead...

Politicians (2, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093185)

it's no surprise that the city with the highest level was Washington DC, where up to 95% of bills gathered there tested positive.

I always suspected the politicians were on crack, I guess now we have proof...

ha ha ha (1)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093215)


Imagine how high the percentage would be if the War on Drugs wasn't so successful!

.

Go back to gold and silver coins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093243)

Dollar Bills have concaine traces from being used as straws to sniff the coke.

Credit cards were probably used to cut the lines.

Gold and Silver bullion coins, a hedge against inflation and another tool in the war on drugs.

Measurement variation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093351)

Could this simply be a side effect of improvement in detection technology?

Contaminated US Currency Shows Cocaine Use on Rise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093369)

Scientific American reports that an analysis by chemist Yuegang Zuo of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth of 234 banknotes from 18 US cities has found cocaine on 90 percent of the bills tested [scientificamerican.com], not surprising given that the US Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that more than 2 million Americans used cocaine in 2007 and for cocaine users, a rolled up bill is said to be the most convenient tool for snorting the powder form of the drug. What might be more surprising is the fact that the percentage of contaminated bills seems to be rising; just two years ago, Zuo did a similar study that found cocaine on only 67 percent of banknotes in Massachusetts. "It is too early to draw a conclusion about why," Zuo says. "The economic downturn may partly contribute to the jump." Zuo also tested banknotes from Brazil, Canada, China and Japan, and found that Asians appear to use the drug less - only 20 percent of the 112 Chinese renminbi notes tested had traces, and only 12 percent of 16 Japanese yen notes tested bore the drug. Washington DC. ranked highest in the survey - 95 percent of the sampled bills there bore cocaine contamination - along with Baltimore, Boston and Detroit while Salt Lake City had the lowest average levels of contamination. "The examination of cocaine contamination on paper money can provide objective and timely epidemiological information about cocaine abuse in individual communities," adds Zuo.

Simply Not True! (1)

ComputerGeek01 (1182793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093377)

I did this test on the bills in my pocket and let me tell you the percentage was MUCH higher the 90%! Oh wait... No I remember why...

In other news .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093399)

.... Up To 90 Percent of used condoms Have Traces of Sperm

Value of foreign stats (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093427)

I'm going to take the China and Japan stats with a grain of salt given that I believe the US dollar to be THE official currency of the coke business.

If you take that into account, and factor in unavoidable cross contamination there's really no value in this study.

that's why i... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093435)

launder my money.

first i spray on a pre-treater and then i toss my bills in the washer on hot cycle... works like a charm. fabric softener makes my bills smell springtime fresh...and soooo soft! but absolutely no bleach, tried that once...that cost me. XD

I want to write a wheresgeorge.com joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29093455)

but nothing comes to me.

+ Addicts = + Atrocities in LatinAmerica (2, Informative)

ronaldmigahil (1403923) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093487)

Thanks to the money of millons of addicts, LatinAmerica is a BIG WAR ZONE, where thousands of innocent people die, get wounded, forced to migrate, hunger, etc . When a addict buys their drugs are they aware of the atrocities that their money is creating in LatinAmerica?

Good thing we had that "War on Drugs" (5, Insightful)

eagee (1308589) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093525)

I'd just like to say that the "War on Drugs" has been a great use of our taxpayer dollars. Very effective. Good thing we're spending so much money keeping people in prison instead of paying for medical care. Yay us.

Sewage Studies are More Interesting (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093543)

Scientists are studying drug usage by examining the contents of sewage. This would appear to be a very excellent means of measuring the volume and type of drug usage in a community.

Money wouldn't be good for this purpose because money is much more mobile than sewage, and because you couldn't derive good quantitative data from the amount of drugs detected.

Remember. In most states, "knowing" possession of drugs need not be proven to establish a unlawful possession of a controlled substance! Any amount of drugs possessed can be a crime. Please return your dollars to the U.S. Treasury immediately and receive "clean" money now!

Sniffer dogs... (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093545)

I just hope I never meet up with a sniffer dog with an over-active nose while in an airport and carrying a wad of cash.

That chuckle aside, I wonder how long it will be before someone challenges a sniffer dog alerting on them by claiming it was due to cocaine contamination on the cash. If that argument were accepted, any subsequent search could be thrown out as fruit of the forbidden tree.

BTW, IANALNDIPOOTV [...nor do I play one on TV.]

It'd be nice to get more data (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 4 years ago | (#29093587)

So the study found contamination at levels of 0.006 - 1240 mcg. The first question I'd ask is if this is the same threshold they used in the previous study. (I would certainly hope/assume so, but it always pays to ask.) It also seems to me that a few millionths of the coke on the heavily contaminated bills could rub off onto their neighbors, so even if there was no increase in coke usage, constant movement through the system could redistribute it.

Alas, it's been many years since my membership to the ACS lapsed, so I won't have access to the original proceedings.

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