Research into the presence of drugs on banknotes in the West of Ireland has found that 100% of the notes tested had traces of cocaine.
Notes were tested in the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and findings showed that smaller denominations had higher levels.
Conversely on the East coast of Ireland and in the UK it had been found that larger notes such as €50 contained higher traces of the illicit drug.
Chemistry and forensic science lecturer Dr Philip White was the lead in the investigation and stated that they “began by testing for all sorts of substances, and found levels of marijuana, along with other substances like sunscreens and food preservatives, but cocaine turned out to be the most prevalent recreational drug.”
For the study 50 notes were brought to nightclubs and other premises over two years and were exchanged for smaller notes which were subsequently tested. He said that from the 50 notes that were tested from various locations most had “background” levels of cocaine.
Continuing Dr White said, “a forensic examination of notes in a wallet can give an indication of a person’s activity over the last 24 hours – but does not necessarily suggest that notes contaminated with drugs confirms direct use.”
This study comes with the recent assertions that cocaine use has returned to ‘Celtic Tiger levels‘ of use.