Methamphetamine use continued to decline in nearly every part of the U.S. last year as the government stepped up a crackdown on precursor chemicals used to make the illegal drug, reports the Associated Press. The number of workplace employees who tested positive for meth dropped 22 percent last year, said New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics Inc., the nation’s largest drug-testing company. Meth use in the Northeast remained steady. The Drug Enforcement Administration said the number of illegal meth lab seizures plunged 31 percent last year, from 7,347 to 5,080.
White House drug czar John Walters said laws restricting the sale of cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient used to cook meth, and efforts to thwart drug trafficking from Mexico have disrupted the market. The Quest report said cocaine use in the general workforce fell by 19 percent in 2007, the biggest single-year decline in a decade. Figures are based on the results of more than 8.4 million drug tests performed for employers. Positive tests for amphetamines – less potent stimulants – increased by 5 percent. A Quest researcher said the increase suggests some workers might be replacing one stimulant drug for another.