UAB students tested four sets of 20 one dollar bills from Jefferson County. The highest instance of meth contamination was found from the north Jefferson county area.
The student received the bills from a home improvement store, never touched the money, and found that meth was on 17 of 20 bills.
The professor over the study at UAB tells ABC 33/40 the contamination on the money comes from sweat. "Some of the drugs on bills are coming from fingertips and being in a pocket and sweating," says Elizabeth Gardner.
Meth was something UAB had never seen before over the years of testing U.S. currency. This eye-opener has the students at UAB shocked, but it doesn't amaze Chief Deputy Randy Christian.
"I'm a little surprised that there were 17 out of 20 one dollar bills that had it on there. But, I'm not surprised at all that they say this is the area where you're going to see it, you're not going to see it in downtown Birmingham, you're going to see it in rural Jefferson county," says Christian. He says meth is a more rural and dangerous drug and validates what the sheriff's office already knew about where drug users are mostly located. Now, there's question that the police department may work side by side with students to stop what Christian calls an epidemic.
"What great resources we have, a world class university in our backyard that maybe even law enforcement should take more advantage of, and see what kind of niche they can carve out over there to help us in our fight in this kind of crime," says Christian.