If you’re in the UK, open up your wallet or purse and take out the contents.
(If you’re not in the UK you can pretend by standing under a cold shower).
If you’ve got more than two banknotes in your hand, you’ve almost certainly got drugs in your possession.
Forensic scientists have said that around 80% of all British banknotes contain traces of drugs, although that was about 10 years ago and seeing as the whole drugs thing has disappeared in the past decade…oh no, hang on it hasn’t, has it?
So, yeah, you’ve got drugs on you.
But what kind of drugs?
Cocaine is the drug most commonly found on banknotes. Heroin and ecstasy are found less often, though the frequency of ecstasy contamination rose in the years leading up to 2002. Joe Reevy of Mass Spec Analytical, a company which analyses confiscated banknotes for the police, pointed out that heroin and ecstasy degrade more rapidly than cocaine, and that a single note which had been used to snort cocaine could subsequently contaminate many others when placed in a sorting machine, to explain the frequency of cocaine contamination.
Of course if you’re the type of person who actually wants drugs and money in your pockets, all this sounds simply wonderful.
But the same method of contamination could also be brewing “a silent Hepatitis-C epidemic”, say experts:
Drug users with hepatitis who share with others the rolled paper note (or straw) used to snort cocaine can facilitate the transfer of the disease to thousands. As drug users are frequently impaired, they can easily fail to notice small traces of blood on these rolled banknotes
Around the same time police were burning £15m worth of banknotes because they were simply too drugged up for use, Charles Gore, the chief executive of the Hepatitis C Trust, said:
“Estimates show that around 5,000 new cases of hepatitis C are diagnosed every year – but they are mainly through chance. Because so many are undiagnosed we can’t tell what kind of problem we are looking at. When 5,000 banknotes were tested in London in 2000, 99% of them had traces of cocaine on them. That tells us that there is potentially a massive problem in diagnosis and people’s awareness of how easily hepatitis C can be contracted.”
If you do contract hepatitis C you can then claim membership of an exclusive club that includes Evel Knievel, Linda Lovelace and Pamela Anderson, so there’s always that