Drug screening is used to detect illegal and some prescribed drugs in the blood, urine, and other biological samples. It is also used to determine drug use and is an integral part of ongoing evaluation and treatment. It is done in schools, hospitals, and places of employment, for college and professional athletes, and post accident drug testing. It is also done for random testing, return to duty testing, pre-employment testing, reasonable suspicion/cause testing, and follow up testing.
Drug screening is done when applying for employment in railways, airlines industries, federal transportation, and other work places where public safety is of high importance. In addition, sports drug screening is required at college level and in case of professional athletes, to screen for illegal, recreational, or performance boosting drugs such as recombinant human growth hormone, diuretics, erthropietin, anabolic steroids, and others. Some of the major illicit drugs include heroin, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamine. In addition, New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), such as phenethylamines, ketamine, piperazine and tryptamines, are also emerging in the drug market. Urine sample is the most popular sample used for testing due to its low cost and result reliability. Drug screening tests are a two step process, which involves the initial and confirmatory test. In the initial test, the immunoassay toxicity testing method is used, whereas in confirmatory test, the Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry [GC-MS] testing is used to test for drugs. The confirmatory test is conducted to determine the presence of individual drug substances or metabolites and to quantify the amount of substance. Moreover, there are various factors that affect the time duration for which a drug remains detectable in urine or a biological sample.
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North America dominates the global market for drug screening due to increase in the number of drug and alcohol abuse cases and enactment of stringent laws in the region. Asia is expected to exhibit a high growth rate in the next five years in the global drug screening market, with China and India being the fastest-growing markets in Asia Pacific. The key driving forces for the drug screening market in developing countries are the large pool of patients, growing number of drug addicts, development of advanced drug and alcohol screening devices, rising awareness regarding the significance of alcohol and drug screening, and rise in disposable income levels in the region.
Growing drug and alcohol abuse, rise in geriatric population, high consumption of alcohol and prescribed and illicit drugs, enactment of stringent laws mandating drug abuse and alcohol testing in developed countries, increase in government funding and initiatives for drug testing, growing awareness about drug screening in developed nations, and rising world population are some of the key factors driving the growth of the global drug screening market. However, accuracy issues related to breathalyzers, ban on alcohol consumption in various countries, and the fact that drug testing is considered as a violation of privacy rights in some countries, act as major restraints for the growth of the global drug screening market.
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Emerging economies such as India, China, and Brazil, and oral fluid drug testing would pose opportunities for the global drug screening market.
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