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Application Note: Analysis and Quantitation of Cocaine on Currency Using GC-MS/MS
21 August 2015

This application note describes a method for extraction, identification, and quantitation of cocaine on paper money from nine different geographical areas around the globe, including five samples from the United States, using the Shimadzu GCMS-TQ8040 triple quadrupole mass spectrometer and the Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) monitoring mode. Cocaine, a white crystalline alkaloid derived from the coca plant, is a popular illegal drug of abuse in the United States and elsewhere. Paper currencies around the world are usually made of a cellulose based paper which can adsorb cocaine onto the surface, and when a person handling cocaine subsequently touches paper money, or uses the bill as a tool to inhale cocaine, the currency easily becomes contaminated. When this contaminated paper money comes into contact with other bills, the cocaine is easily transferred from one bill to the next.