Is there a bump in your bill? How the DEA tested money for cocaine

Study finds that a third of bills failed the test - and it’s the Federal Reserve’s fault

Written by Michael Morisy
Edited by JPat Brown

Back in the ’80s, in response to requests for assisting in tracing drugs, the DEA lab developed a method for detecting traces of cocaine as small as .25mg.

Don’t try this at home, however - the method relies heavily on chloroform.

So what’s the problem with this method? A study of Chicago Federal Reserve Bank cash found a third of randomly selected money samples of $50 and $100 bills in general circulation failed the test.

Even worse, it turns out the Federal Reserve’s cocaine-tainted machinery was itself responsible.

Without much more use than a nifty party trick, the DEA quietly recommended “the project be terminated.”

Read the full report embedded below, or on the request page.

Image via Wikimedia Commons