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One in ten people have traces of cocaine in their fingerprints

You may not have snorted a line of coke in your life and you know about heroin only from the movies, the news, and the junkies in your neighborhood (if there are any left), but there is a chance that you have traces of those drugs in your hands. And it is not very remote, far from it. According to a study by researchers from the University of Surrey (United Kingdom), thirteen percent of people have traces of cocaine in their fingerprints, and one percent of heroin.

The authors of the work, who had already created a fingerprint test to detect drug use, have developed a test that allows differentiating people who take them regularly from those who are exposed to them by chance, for example, through a simple handshake.

Let’s see those fingers …

The researchers analyzed the fingerprints of fifty volunteers who do not test these drugs and those of fifteen who take them regularly, and who had also used cocaine or heroin in the twenty-four hours prior to the test.

Result: they found traces of these addictive substances on the fingers of those who did not try them. In thirteen percent of the clean individuals they were cocaine, and in one percent there was a metabolite that the body produces only when it comes into contact with heroin.

Dr. Melanie Bailey, Professor of Forensic Analysis at the University of Surrey, points out that “cocaine is very common in everyday objects such as banknotes, but we have been surprised to find it in so many fingerprints of people who do not take drugs.” This test is important because it manages to find out with a very simple, cheap and non-invasive analysis if a person has consumed illegal substances or if they have only been in accidental contact with them.

Cocaine even in the soup

Money is one of the best records of human activity, and a snitch on drug use. According to a study by the SAILab laboratory for the newspaper El Mundo, 94% of the banknotes circulating in Spain contain traces of cocaine, as well as traces of cannabis and other narcotics.

It is not surprising, since we Spaniards are among the largest coca consumers in the European Union . According to the European Drug Report 2017: Trends and news, of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, only the United Kingdom surpasses us in fondness for this dangerous addictive and toxic alkaloid.

It is the most common illegal stimulant in the eurozone: an estimated 17.5 million adults (5.2% of the population) have taken it at some point. The five eurozone states where its consumption is most prevalent are the United Kingdom (9.7%), Spain (9.1%), Ireland (7.8%), Italy (7.6%) and France (5 ,4 %).

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