From: By Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published August 9, 2007 03:23 PM

Big Drop in US Cocaine Use - All Time Low Achieved

Aug 9, 2007 08:59


LYNDHURST, N.J., -- There's been an unprecedented decline in cocaine use by American workers. So much, that the latest survery saw a new low during the first half of 2007.


The latest findings are based on results of more than 4.4 million workplace drug tests for cocaine between January and June 2007.


The study findings represent a 15.9 percent decrease from the positivity rate for the full year 2006. Cocaine use in the first six months of 2007 among the combined U.S. workforce is at its lowest point since 1997, when the Quest first reported on the cocaine use rate as a percentage of all employer-related drug tests performed to detect illicit drugs. The combined U.S. workforce refers to general workers and federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers.


"Not only did the positivity rate fall to its lowest level since Quest 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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Regional Declines


The Quest survey also tracked cocaine-positivity rates for the combined U.S. workforce by nine geographic regional divisions of the U.S., as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau and reported in the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The Northeast region's New England Division, consisting of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, experienced a decline of 21.9 percent, the largest drop of all divisions, for the first six months of 2007 compared to 2006. The Midwest Region's West North Central Division, which consists of the Dakotas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska, declined by 9.5%, the least significant decline of the divisions.


"The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index: Cocaine Use Among America's Workers -- A Special 2007 Mid-Year Report" was developed partly at the prompting of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.


"These data are encouraging," said John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy. "Cocaine has destroyed thousands of lives in the U.S. and brought lawlessness and misery to our neighbors. But in recent years, we have had unprecedented cooperation with leaders in Colombia and Mexico. Now is the time to build on this progress."


Positivity Rates By Drug Category -- Cocaine Only


(As a percentage of all such tests)


(More than 4.4 million tests from January to June 2007)


Testing Category Jan-Jun


2007 2006 2005 2004 2003


Federally Mandated,


Safety-Sensitive


Workforce 0.46% 0.58% 0.60% 0.57% 0.59%


General U.S.


Workforce 0.61% 0.72% 0.70% 0.72% 0.74%


Combined U.S.


Workforce 0.58% 0.69% 0.69% 0.70% 0.71%


Cocaine Positivity Rates By Regions of the U.S.


(Sorted by rate of decline as a percentage)


Region-Division (1) Percent Jan-Jun


Decline 2007 2006


Northeast Region -


New England Division


(Connecticut, Maine,


Massachusetts,


New Hampshire, Rhode Island,


Vermont) 21.9% 0.57% 0.73%


South Region -


West South Central Division


(Arkansas, Louisiana,


Oklahoma, Texas) 20.5% 0.66% 0.83%


Northeast Region -


Middle Atlantic Division


(New Jersey, New York,


Pennsylvania) 19.1% 0.55% 0.68%


Midwest Region -


East North Central Division


(Illinois, Indiana,


Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin) 17.6% 0.56% 0.68%


South Region -


South Atlantic Division


(Delaware, District of


Columbia, Florida,


Georgia, Maryland, North


Carolina, South Carolina,


Virginia, West Virginia) 16.7% 0.75% 0.90%


West Region -


Mountain Division


(Arizona, Colorado, Idaho,


Montana, Nevada, New Mexico,


Utah, Wyoming) 14.3% 0.36% 0.42%


West Region -


Pacific Division


(Alaska, California,


Hawaii, Oregon, Washington) 12.5% 0.28% 0.32%


South Region -


East South Central Division


(Alabama, Kentucky,


Mississippi, Tennessee) 11.3% 0.71% 0.80%


Midwest Region -


West North Central Division


(Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota,


Missouri, Nebraska, North


Dakota, South Dakota) 9.5% 0.38% 0.42%


(1) As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau and reported in the National


Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).


Web site: http://www.questdiagnostics.com/


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