The global drug of abuse testing services market size was valued at USD 3.85 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 7.25 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 6.4% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
The utilization of certain chemicals to produce pleasurable effects on the brain is called drug abuse or substance abuse. Drug abuse is a pattern of drug usage that can harm one's health, relationships, and employment. Drug abuse can involve abusing both legal and illicit drugs. Misuse refers to taking more medication than is recommended or utilizing it for purposes other than those listed on the label, such as getting high. It may also refer to using someone else's medication or ingesting pills other than recommended, such as crushing and snorting them.
Drug abuse screening tests are questionnaires to determine whether a person abuses drugs. An accurate treatment plan can be created by a doctor with a drug use screening test. Blood, urine, and hair samples are examined for drugs such as cannabis, opioids, cocaine, and amphetamines in the drug abuse testing. Drug abuse testing encompasses many applications, such as chromatography apparatus, rapid test kits, immunoassay analyzers, and laboratory services.
The growing prevalence of substance abuse drives the need for drug abuse testing services. According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2019 data, approximately 35 million people with drug use disorders needed treatment globally. There is limited access and availability to services for people with drug use disorders globally, with only 1 in 7 cases being treated annually. However, in developed countries, such as the U.S., a favorable reimbursement framework for treatment services has led to high demand for substance abuse treatments.
Despite organizations conducting random testing, substance usage in the workplace is also on the rise. Cocaine and cannabis are two prohibited substances that are frequently utilized at work. In the workplace, substance abuse might result in a significant loss of productivity, physical injuries, and even fatalities. Based on various drug abuse surveys, around 22.5% of people do not admit to using alcohol or any illicit drugs during working hours. One in ten responders claims they arrive prepared to reduce their risk of being subjected to random workplace tests. As a result, there is an increasing demand for quick and frequent drug testing at work to reduce absenteeism, lost productivity, and medical expenses.
Various government initiatives to monitor and combat substance abuse are driving the market. The National Drug Control Budget requested USD 34.6 billion in FY 2020 across five drug control functional areas in the U.S.: prevention, operation, treatment, law enforcement, and interdiction. This includes funding of USD 1.9 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant to fund evidence-based prevention activities.
Additionally, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has been established as one of the principal federal organizations dedicated to advancing scientific investigation into drug use disorders and their effects, thereby enhancing public health. The risks of COVID-19 infection in individuals with substance use disorders urgently need research, data collection, and analysis, according to a Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) published by NIDA in March 2020. The need for drug abuse testing is expected to increase soon due to various initiatives and funding for programs related to drug abuse.
Drug and alcohol abuse among employees is risky for every business. To eliminate such risks, employers conduct drug abuse testing programs. However, this can be considered a violation of privacy rights. In many countries, drug testing is subject to privacy legislation. There are various criteria or standards based on which drug testing can be conducted, and violating them is considered a violation of an individual's rights.
In many European countries, such as Finland and Belgium, unlike the U.S., there are stringent privacy rights that cannot be ignored while testing for drug abuse. In the Netherlands, pre-employment drug testing is illegal. Many European countries issue penalties for unjustified testing, with criminal fines. This is considered a breach of workers' privacy. Such stringent privacy rights are anticipated to limit workplace drug testing, impeding market growth.
Substance abuse and addiction is a worldwide epidemic that impacts the lives of millions of people. According to the World Drug Report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2019, around 35 million people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders. The high drug abuse and substance use disorder rate has created a significant demand for innovative testing services to help prevent, treat, and manage such cases.
Several key players operating in the drug abuse testing services are introducing innovative and efficient testing services to meet this growing demand. For instance, in May 2020, Psychemedics Corporation, a U.S.-based drug testing service provider, introduced its latest Vaping Panel to help detect the use of CBD, nicotine, and marijuana. This test was developed to help schools and companies identify the intake of these drugs by all modes, including smoking or using e-cigarettes. Thus, the market is expected to show lucrative opportunities wherein key emerging players can gain a competitive edge by introducing innovative drug testing services.
The global drug of abuse testing services market is segmented by drug type.
Based on drug type, the global market is segmented into alcohol, cannabis/marijuana, cocaine, opioids, amphetamine and methamphetamine, and LSD.
The cannabis/marijuana segment owns the highest drug of abuse testing services market share and is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 5.0% during the forecast period. The major component of marijuana, delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is thought to be the fundamental factor producing the psychoactive effect, is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug. Countries such as Canada, the U.S. (only in some states), and Uruguay have legalized recreational use of cannabis. Marijuana, sometimes known as cannabis, is the most widely used illicit drug worldwide, which explains why it has a large part of this market. Its testing services are therefore in high demand. In 2018, as per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, marijuana was the most widely used illicit drug in the United States, with approximately 43.5 million users. Aside from that, marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in American workplaces, according to research released by the National Safety Council. Therefore, this high rate of marijuana abuse at workplaces is anticipated to drive demand for its testing services during the forecast period.
Alcohol abuse is one of the major public health concerns in developed as well as emerging economies. In 2018, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that approximately 86.3% of U.S. adults over 18 had consumed alcohol at some point. Similarly, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that approximately 86.3% of U.S. adults over 18 had consumed alcohol at some point. Alcohol abuse remains a serious problem in workplaces. Alcohol abuse lowers productivity and risk of accidents raises insurance costs, and reduces profits. Thus, such a high prevalence of alcohol abuse in key markets is anticipated to boost the demand for its testing services during the forecast period.
Furthermore, alcohol abuse in the workplace is a great financial burden for employers. According to the data published by AlcoholRehabGuide, companies across the U.S. spend between USD 33 billion and USD 68 billion annually due to employee alcohol abuse. Thus, to reduce these costs, employers use alcohol testing at the workplace, which is anticipated to drive demand for alcohol abuse testing services and aid market growth over the forecast period.
Cocaine is a prohibited drug from the coca plant native to South American nations. The second-most trafficked illegal substance worldwide is cocaine. It is extremely addictive and has various adverse effects on health and well-being. As per National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, approximately 5.5 million Americans used cocaine in 2017. In 2017, about 1 in 5 drug overdose deaths involved cocaine, with non-Hispanic blacks experiencing the highest rate of overdoses and fatalities.
Cocaine overdose deaths increased from 1.4% to 4.5% between 2012 and 2018. Employers, government agencies, and several other organizations require cocaine testing services to detect its abuse. The test can be done on blood, saliva, urine, hair, or sweat. Rapid screening tests are performed in clinics and offices; however, lab tests are more sensitive and reliable; thus, samples are sent to a lab to confirm conclusive results. The high prevalence of cocaine abuse in the key regions is anticipated to be a prominent factor driving segment growth.
Based on region, the global drug of abuse testing services market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America is the most significant global drug of abuse testing services market shareholder and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.0% during the forecast period. North America captured a substantial share of the drug of abuse testing services market, primarily due to significant participants undertaking extensive expansion strategies. Its dominant share can also be attributed to the increasing prevalence of drug abuse in the region and government initiatives to control it. An advanced healthcare infrastructure and a high prevalence of substance abuse are some of the factors contributing to the region's leading share. As per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2018, around 164.8 million people aged 12 or above were past-month substance users in the U.S. Furthermore, increased rate of substance use disorder due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is anticipated to boost the regional drug of abuse testing services market demand. However, nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 is anticipated to reduce the demand for workplace drug testing services, thus, leading to low market growth.
Europe is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.3% over the forecast period. Europe held the second-largest drug of abuse testing services market share. This can be attributed to the surging frequency of drug abuse and substance use disorder in countries such as Germany, the UK, France, Italy, and Spain. In addition, several regulatory bodies' initiatives to increase drug abuse testing are anticipated to create a high demand for drug abuse testing services. Further, the rising number of government initiatives to increase drug testing is anticipated to create lucrative opportunities for the key players. However, many European countries have forbidden workplace drug testing or random screening, while others allow it in safety-critical industries such as energy, transport, and construction. Such unclear regulations related to workplace drug testing in some countries may limit the demand for drug of abuse testing services and hinder the market.
Asia-Pacific is anticipated to exhibit tremendous growth due to the surging demand for drug of abuse testing services from emerging economies such as China and India. The increasing prevalence of substance abuse disorders in key Asia-Pacific countries and continuous initiatives undertaken by regulatory bodies to manage it are expected to drive segment expansion during the forecast period. An increase in drug-related crimes and fatal road accidents is also predicted to boost the demand for drug abuse testing services. Additionally, cheap labor and less capital investment are available to establish testing laboratories. However, the lack of clear regulations related to workplace drug testing and nationwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic are anticipated to be major factors hampering the market.
The growth of Latin America's drug of abuse testing services market can be attributed to the surging penetration of key regional players. Several key players have established their testing laboratories in countries such as Brazil and Mexico to gain a competitive edge. High drug consumption in several Latin American countries and a high prevalence of substance use disorder in the region are anticipated to create lucrative opportunities in the market. However, an uncertain regulatory scenario related to workplace drug testing in some Latin American countries is anticipated to impede market demand.
The Middle East and Africa's drug of abuse testing services market share is anticipated to grow because of the surging prevalence of substance use disorders. Favorable regulations for conducting workplace testing in key countries are further expected to support regional market growth. However, low access to testing services in countries such as South Africa is anticipated to be a major factor hindering the market.
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