New data from workplace drug tests conducted by Quest Diagnostics indicate an unprecedented reduction in cocaine use among the U.S. workforce, the Office of National Drug Control Policy has reported.

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 (0.58 percent January-June 2007 vs. 0.69 percent in CY2006). The combined U.S. workforce is comprised of general workers and federally mandated, safety sensitive workers.

The latest data show cocaine drug-test positives had double-digit declines in all but one division of the nation, with the highest declines occurring in the New England states. 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 that in recent years the U.S. has had unprecedented cooperation with leaders in Colombia and Mexico. “Now is the time to build on this progress,” he said.

"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," said Barry Sample, Ph.D., director of Science and Technology for the Employer Solutions division of Quest Diagnostics.

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, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. 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.