A majority of men arrested in the District last year tested positive for recent drug use, although the percentage was down from previous years, according to a federal survey.

The study, released Wednesday by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, found that 52 percent of men arrested in the nation’s capital in 2010 had recently used cocaine, marijuana and other drugs. More than 70 percent tested positive in 2009, the office said.

The report offered no clear reason for the decrease, except to note that drug use nationwide has been declining.

The annual survey was the fourth conducted by the office, which studied data from the District, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Charlotte, Portland and Manhattan, N.Y.

In each of those jurisdictions, more than half of the adult males arrested last year tested positive for drug use, with Chicago having the highest percentage, 83 percent, the survey found.

“These findings illustrate why we must approach our nation’s drug problem as a public health and safety problem,” the office’s director, Gil Kerlikowske, said in a statement. “Drug addiction is too often the root of crime in our communities.”