2009 September 07 Monday
Low Cocaine In Japanese Currency

At a very high level of industrialization Japan still has a low rate of cocaine contamination on the Yen. The Chinese currency already has a higher level of contamination.

In his study, the rate of drug-contaminated money varied geographically from urban to less populated areas. A hundred percent of the sample bills collected from major cities such as Miami, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts; and Detroit, Michigan, tested positive for cocaine, but samples collected from smaller cities such as Salt Lake City, Utah; Niagara Falls, New York;and Dearborn, Michigan, had 87 to 67 percent.

Compared with currency from Brazil, Canada, China and Japan, U.S. bills had the highest percentage of cocaine, with 90 percent of 234 bank notes contaminated. Canada followed with 85 percent and Brazil with 80 percent. China and Japan had the lowest, with 20 and 12 percent respectively.

Japan has a bigger problem with stimulant drug abuse. But I do not have a good sense of how big it is.

Will China's corruption enable a big scaling up of drug abuse as it further industrializes and buying power increases? I doubt that China will be as orderly as Japan.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 September 07 08:28 PM  Culture Compared

kurt9 said at September 8, 2009 10:15 AM:

Cocaine is an ego drug. The Japanese and, to a lesser extent Chinese, are not ego cultures. So, cocaine is unlikely to ever be much popular in either society. Stimulants (speed) is popular in Japan because the Japanese like to be "jacked", in a non-ego sort of way, quite often. The main drug law in Japan is the Stimulant Control Law, which recognizes that stimulants are the biggest drug problem in Japan. Even the Europeans use less cocaine than we do. Cocaine is the American drug because Americans are egotistical people. The rest of the world is much less egotistical than Americans.

China has a history of opiate addiction. It is possible that opiates may come back into vogue in China once it fully industrializes. Hallucinogens (marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms) started becoming popular among the young people in Japan in the late 90's. In fact, psilocybin mushrooms were legal in Japan until 2002. This was an oversight because the Japanese politicians and bureaucrats simply did not know about them until the kids started using them in the late 90's. There were head shops in Shibuya and Harajuku that sold psilocybin mushrooms and mushroom growing kits until the Stimulant Control Law was modified to put them out of business.

The East Asians are a cerebral people. Cerebral people are attracted to hallucinogens over other drugs. I expect that the hallucinogens will become the drugs of choice in China when it becomes fully developed.

kurt9 said at September 8, 2009 10:21 AM:

Psilocybin mushrooms are known as "warau kinoko", which means "laughing mushrooms" in Japanese. They are named such because of the tendency for "laugh attacks" while using them. They were quite popular among young people (in Tokyo area) about 8-10 years ago.

tommy said at September 11, 2009 9:36 PM:

Cocaine in East Asia is probably like it was in America in the 1970s: a drug of the upper echelons of society. It wouldn't surprise me if the major users of cocaine in China are the children of the elites who have the money to burn and the political connections needed to avert drug arrests. Meth is more of a lower class drug, and its users are likely to be subject to the brutalities of Chinese drug enforcement. This may discourage the use of methamphetamine in the country. In Japan, drug enforcement is probably applied in a more egalitarian fashion, and crystal meth is almost certainly a lot more popular than cocaine. My prediction would be more combined methamphetamine and cocaine residue on Japanese bills, but with a much higher proportion of methamphetamine to cocaine. The yuan would have less of the drugs overall, but the ratio of cocaine to meth would be higher.

One alternative, but unlikely, possibility might be that freebase is much more popular in Japan than in China. This would lead to higher quantities of residue on the yuan than the yen.

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