Drug positivity rates in D.C. arrestees decline

handcuffs.jpgThe Pretrial Services Agency (PSA) for Washington D.C. screens adult arrestees for illicit drugs. Data from the latest PSA report – featured in this month’s CESAR FAX – reveals that the drug positivity rate has declined from 49 percent in 2006 to 27 percent in 2014. The Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) reports that the decrease in the overall drug positivity rate could be attributed to the significant decline in cocaine positivity. According to the PSA data, the cocaine positivity rate declined from 40% in 2006 to 13% in 2014 – which is an all-time low for screens performed by the PSA in D.C.

The report noted, “These results do not necessarily mean that D.C. adult arrestees have stopped using drugs, only that they are not using the drugs for which they are being tested.” The PSA only screens for cocaine, PCP, opiates and amphetamines – not marijuana which continues to be the most commonly detected illicit drug, according to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™.

While cocaine positivity rates declined in D.C. arrestees over the past eight years, the latest data from the Drug Testing Index – which was released last week – revealed an increase in cocaine positivity in the general U.S. workforce over the past two years, reversing a prolonged period of decline.

CESAR FAX provides a monthly, one-page summary of timely substance abuse trends and news. Read the latest issue for more information.

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