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CocainecurrencyREACHINTOYOURPURSEORYOURbackpocketandpulloutyourwallet.DoyouhaveafivespotoranysinglesIfsothenyoualsocouldbecarryinganillegaldrugandnotevenrealizeit.UniversityofMichigan-DearbornstudentsJustinKandahandAaronZhangworkedcloselywithassociateprofessorofchemistryYiweiDengtoanalyzepapercurrencyinDetroitfortracesofcocainecollecting1and5billsfromgasstationsgrocerystoresandbanksacrossitssevenmunicipaldistricts.Whendrugdealersorchestrateatransactioncashoftencomesintocontactwithcocaine.Andmanycocaineusersrollupdollarbillsusingthemasstrawstoinhalethedrug.Inbothinstancesdrugresidueeasilytransfersontothepapercurrency.ByproxycocainecantransfertoallkindsofdifferentthingssaidKandahabioengineeringmajorwhopreviouslyworkedasapatrolofficer.Zhangplacedbillsindeionizedwaterandthenthroughaprocesscalledsonicationwasabletoremovetracesofcocainefromthepapercurrency.Thecocaineintheaqueoussampleswasthenextractedusinghexaneandanalyzedbyagaschromatography-massspectrometryinstrument.Thisstate-of-the-arttechnologyallowsfortheidentificationandquantitationofcocaine.Dengandherstudentsanalyzed42bills67percentofwhichtestedpositiveforcocaine.Surprisingly67percentdidntcomeasashocktomebecausethethingaboutcocaineisthatittransferssupereasilysaidZhangabiologicalsciencesmajor.TheyfoundthatthehighestamountofcocaineonpapercurrencyexistsonDetroitsnorthside.Thestudentsresearchhelpsprovidelawenforcementcircleswithobjectiveandtimelyinformationontheepidemiologyofillicitdruguse.ThisprojectnotonlygivesthestudentsanopportunitytoconductinterdisciplinaryresearchinchemistryandforensicsciencebutitalsoraisespublicawarenessofdrugabuseinoursocietyDengsaid.Dengacknowledgestheresultsobtainedmaynotfullyrepresenttheepidemiologyofcocaineuseinthisregionduetothesmallsamplesize.Thecocainedetectedonthosebanknotesmaynotallcomefromlocalsourcessincebillsstayincirculationformonthsandarehandledbymanydifferentpeople.ThemajorityofbanknotesbeingcontaminatedindicateshoweverthatcocaineuseisstillwidespreadnotonlyinsoutheastMichiganbutinmanyotherareasoftheU.S.Denghopestogenerateenoughinterestfromstudentssotheycanbroadentheirscopeonfutureprojectsrelatedtococaineandpapercurrency.Thisprojectnotonlygivesthestudentsanopportunitytoconductinterdisciplinaryresearchinchemistryandforensicsciencebutitalsoraisespublicawarenessofdrugabuseinoursociety.YiweiDengassociateprofessorofchemistryAIRPORTPHOTOSCOURTESYOFTHEWAYNECOUNTYAIRPORTAUTHORITYVITOPALMISANO22Fall2014FacultySupport