Half of Male Arrestees Test Positive for Drugs; Cocaine Use Drops


More than half of adult male arrestees last year in 10 cities and counties around the U.S. tested positive for at least one drug, reports the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Positive test results ranged from 52 percent in Washington, D.C., to 83 percent in Chicago. Fewer arrestees tested positive for cocaine; nine of ten sites found a significant decrease compared with 2007.

The highest rates of men testing positive for meth were Sacramento, 33 percent, and Portland, 20 percent. An increasing number of arrestees in Charlotte, New York City, and Sacramento tested positive for marijuana; four of the ten cities–Charlotte, Indianapolis, Portland, and Sacramento, showed significant increases in the percentages testing positive for opiates. Chicago dropped by nearly half. the findings “illustrate why we must approach our nation's drug problem as a public health and safety problem,” said drug policy director Gil Kerlikowske. His office said that overall U.S. drug use has dropped substantially over the past thirty years. The number of Americans using illicit drugs is about half the rate it was in the late 70s. More recently, there has been a 46 percent drop in current cocaine use among young adults (age 18 to 25 years) over the past five years.

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