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Illicit drug contamination of the Bristol Pound local currency

Bowdler, Paul; Gale, Ella; Bryant, Freya; Codd, Samuel; Hudd, Sophie; Longden, Reece; White, Paul; Honeychurch, Kevin C.

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Paul Bowdler

Ella Gale

Freya Bryant

Samuel Codd

Sophie Hudd

Reece Longden

Paul White
Professor in Applied Statistics


Reports have shown the prevalence of the contamination of banknotes with a number of different drugs. These studies have focused on investigating drug contamination levels on currency which is either nationally or even international distributed. To present there has been no studies undertaken on banknotes circulating in well-defined and limited geographic areas. In this present study we have investigated the presence of drug contamination on the Local Currency, circulating in a known geographic area in and around the city of Bristol, UK; the Bristol Pound (£B). The effect of sample size was investigated and a post-hoc statistical power analysis undertaken. Following liquid extraction with the aid of sonication, levels of cocaine, benzoylecgonine, MDMA, ketamine and methamphetamine were determined by liquid chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. Seven samples of each denomination in circulation were investigated. The calculated median values per note were 2030 ng cocaine, 91.9 ng benzoylecgonine, 0.779 ng methamphetamine, 62.8 ng MDMA and 3440 ng ketamine. This study focuses on our preliminary studies and to our knowledge this is the first investigation focused on the drug contamination of a Local Currency.


Bowdler, P., Gale, E., Bryant, F., Codd, S., Hudd, S., Longden, R., …Honeychurch, K. C. (2020). Illicit drug contamination of the Bristol Pound local currency. Forensic Science International, 316, Article 110469.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 19, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 22, 2020
Publication Date Nov 1, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 22, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 23, 2021
Journal Forensic Science International
Print ISSN 0379-0738
Electronic ISSN 1872-6283
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 316
Article Number 110469
Keywords Drugs; Local Currency; LC-MS/MS; paper currency; Bristol Pound
Public URL
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