WASHINGTON — Cocaine use by U.S. workers is at its lowest rate in at least a decade, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said Thursday. It cited a 16 percent drop in positive workplace drug tests for cocaine in the first six months of this year, based on the experience of the leading American tester. The decline coincides with tight supplies and rising prices in many U.S. cities, according to a drug market intelligence report released by John Walters, the office’s director. Emergency room visits for cocaine-related problems also are down, Walters said in an interview.
While confirming a general decline in U.S. cocaine use, Thomas Pietschmann, a senior researcher at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria, thought it might reflect growing demand in Europe, at least in part. “Cocaine’s still a celebrity drug here; it doesn’t have the bad reputation that it does in the U.S.,” he said.
Another possibility is that traffickers are stockpiling cocaine in Colombia and Mexico until enforcement subsides. Yet another is that interdictions earlier this year — especially two huge seizures in the eastern Pacific that took out more than 41 tons of cocaine — disrupted traffickers’ supply lines to U.S. consumers. Among the cities that are reporting price spikes or scarcity, according to Walters’ office, are Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Minn., and Wichita, Kan.
Whites Minority In 1 In 10 US Counties
White people are now the minority in nearly one in 10 counties in the United States, the latest analysis of census results shows.
Black and Hispanic people are outnumbering the white population in once white-dominated areas and increasing numbers of residents are complaining, according to reports.
Non-Hispanic white people made up less than half the population in 303 of the US’s 3,141 counties in 2006. They were a minority in 262 counties in 2000, up from 183 in 1990.
The new research provides the first such estimates since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast in 2005, scattering hundreds of thousands of people across North America.
Nationally, the number of minorities in the US topped 100 million for the first time in 2006 – about a third of the population. By 2050, minorities will account for half of US residents, according to census bureau projections.