New data from workplace drug tests conducted by Quest Diagnostics indicate an unprecedented reduction in cocaine use among the U.S. workforce required to undergo such testing. 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 decline in the number of drug test positives for cocaine among the combined U.S. workforce during the first six months of 2007 compared to 2006 (.58% January – June 2007 v. .69% in CY2006). The combined U.S. workforce is comprised of general workers and federally mandated, safety sensitive workers.

According to the latest data from Quest Diagnostics, cocaine drug-test positives showed double-digit declines in all but one division 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.)

"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."

In July, separate findings from federal intelligence and law enforcement sources noted reports of cocaine shortages in 37 U.S. cities during the first six months of 2007. Several of the cities noted by federal sources are also reporting increases in the price of cocaine—and in some instances a rapid doubling of prices—suggesting that the U.S. market for cocaine may be under strain. These findings are consistent with the Quest Diagnostics data reflecting a decline in cocaine positivity rates among U.S. workers during the first half of 2007.

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