Atmospheric Cocaine: The Italian Experience

Are You Inhaling Secondhand Coke?” asks Elizabeth Norton’s report in ScienceNow, going on to say;

We’ve all seen those color-coded air-quality charts on the news—warnings about smog, ozone, and pollen. Now it may be time to add a new alert to the list: illegal drugs. Researchers have found that regions with greater cocaine and marijuana use have higher levels of these drugs in the surrounding atmosphere….

The study is:

Possible social relevance of illicit psychotropic substances present in the atmosphere,” Angelo Cecinato, Catia Balducci [pictured here, in a photo possibly taken through a gauzy atmosphere], Ettore Guerriero, Francesca Sprovieri, Franco Cofone, Science of the Total Environment, vols. 412-413, 15 December 2011, Pages 87-92. The authors, at the National Research Council of Italy’s Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, report:

“In this study, the atmospheric concentrations of psychotropic compounds recorded in Italy were plotted vs. a series of criminal statistics. Meaningful links were found between atmospheric cocaine and the amount of drugs seized, the number of drug related crimes and the demand for clinical treatment recorded in the Italian regions. Atmospheric cocaine and cannabinoids also seemed to be correlated with tumour insurgence and mental disease frequency, respectively…. Moreover, according to our study illicit drugs are suspected to promote long-term ill health effects even when present at low concentrations the air.”

BONUS: African marijuana in Mediterranean skies