'Unprecedented Reduction' in Cocaine Use by U.S. Workers Hailed

New data from workplace drug tests conducted by Quest Diagnostics indicate there has been "an unprecedented reduction in cocaine use among the U.S. workforce," the Office of National Drug Control Policy announced Aug. 9. ONDCP cited "The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index®: Cocaine Use Among America's Workers -- A Special 2007 Mid-Year Report," which said there was a 15.9 percent decline in the number of drug test positives for cocaine among the combined U.S. workforce during the first six months of 2007 compared with 2006 (0.58 percent January–June 2007 vs. 0.69 percent in 2006).

The data indicate cocaine drug-test positives showed double-digit declines in all but one division of the nation. The highest decline occurred in New England, with the second-highest decline occurring in the West South Central division (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.) "These data are encouraging. Cocaine has destroyed thousands of lives in the U.S. and brought lawlessness and misery to our neighbors," said John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy. "But in recent years, we have had unprecedented cooperation with leaders in Colombia and Mexico. Now is the time to build on this progress."

"Not only did the positivity rate fall to its lowest level since Quest Diagnostics began reporting on cocaine rates a decade ago, but also the decline was truly across the board, falling by double-digits in all but one of nine regions of the country," said Barry Sample, Ph.D., director of Science and Technology for the Employer Solutions division of Quest Diagnostics. "While it is too soon to point to a trend, the significant decline in positivity rates in different workforce categories and across regions may suggest that our nation's workers are choosing not to use cocaine or that they lack access to the drug."

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