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Tests Show Workplace Cocaine Use At Lowest Rate in 10 Years

Cocaine use in the workplace has experienced “an unprecedented reduction,” falling to its lowest rate in at least a decade, according to new data released by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

According to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, “Cocaine Use Among America's Workers — A Special 2007 Mid-Year Report,” there was a 15.9 percent drop in the number of positive workplace drug tests for cocaine during the first 6 months of 2007, down from .69 percent in 2006 to .58 percent between January and June 2007.

The findings coincide with reports from federal intelligence and law enforcement sources in July that there have been cocaine shortages as well as rising prices in 37 U.S. cities during the first 6 months of 2007, suggesting that the U.S. market for cocaine might be under strain.

Cocaine drug-test positives showed double-digit declines in all but one area of the nation, with the highest declines occurring in the New England area (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont). The division with the second-highest declines in cocaine drug test positives was the West South Central division (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.)

John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy, said cooperation with leaders in Colombia and in Mexico — countries that supply about 90 percent of cocaine to the United States — has been instrumental in the drug crackdown.

“These data are encouraging,” Walters added.

Barry Sample, director of Science and Technology for the Employer Solutions Division of Quest Diagnostics, said he was hopeful that the new data show that workers are making the choice to not engage in drug use.

“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,” he said.

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