Cocaine Use Declines Among U.S. Workforce

WASHINGTON – Recent Intelligence reports of cocaine supply shortages are now being reflected in unprecedented reductions in employee drug test positives.

New data from workplace drug tests conducted by Quest Diagnostics indicate an unprecedented reduction in cocaine use among the U.S. workforce. 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, 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, “These data are encouraging. 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.”

“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 6 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.


ONDCP press release

About the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index: The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index is published as a public service for government, media and industry, and has been considered a benchmark for national trends since its inception in 1988. It examines positivity rates, which represent the proportion of positive results for a drug to all such drug tests performed, among three major testing populations: federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers; the general workforce; and the combined U.S. workforce. Federally mandated, safety-sensitive workers include pilots, bus and truck drivers, and workers in nuclear power plants, for whom routine drug testing is mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Drug Testing Index is released as a full-year and mid-year report. “The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index: Cocaine Use Among America’s Workers—A Special 2007 Mid-Year Report” describes positivity rates for cocaine only and does not assess positivity rates for other drugs among U.S. workers.

About Quest Diagnostics: Quest Diagnostics is the leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services that patients and doctors need to make better healthcare decisions. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic testing services through its national network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is a pioneer in developing innovative new diagnostic tests and advanced healthcare information technology solutions that help improve patient care. Additional company information is available at:

For more information, please visit or

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo