According to a recent report by Transparency Market Research Drugs of Abuse Testing Market, the drug testing market is expected to grow to $3.4 billion in revenues by 2018.
I often have people claim that the drug testing industry is a neutral, unbiased, scientific service. It’s not.
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While I believe that the drug testing labs and the companies that own them do nothing to influence the outcomes of drug testing, they certainly have a stake in convincing people that administering drug tests is in the customer’s best interest.
And for the drug testing market, businesses and governments are the primary customer. Their secondary customer base is concerned parents who want to make sure their children aren’t taking drugs and has resulted in many of the consumer products you can find at your local pharmacy.
But when you think about the amount of money involved, it’s certainly in the drug testing market’s best interest to convince businesses, governments, and even consumers that:
a) Drug testing is necessary
b) Drug tests can’t be beat
However, neither statement is entirely accurate.
Yes, I think we call agree that we don’t want the guy piloting our airplane to be high but what exactly is the benefit to the company, their customers, or even society by firing a paraplegic customer support rep from Dish Network who took medical marijuana on his own time to help with the symptoms of his injury?
There is no benefit. None.
In fact, in this particular case, had the person been taking far more addictive and impairing prescription drugs, he would have been totally okay and been able to keep his job.
Or, what about the state of Florida which required welfare recipients to take drug tests? The state spent $118,000 to catch 108 people who would have, collectively, been entitled to $45,000 in benefits that the state can now refuse to offer.
That brings us to the second lie told by the drug testing market, which is that the test can’t be beat. It can. Whether you’re talking about urine, saliva, blood, or hair, there are ways of beating each and every one of them.
However, that isn’t information that the drug testing market will share with people they are trying to convince to use their services. They have a vested interest in making people believe that their results are 100% reliable.
This false-confidence in the drug testing market’s accuracy justifies the price of their services.
But is this fair to the people who paralyzed into fear by the drug testing market’s rhetoric and do nothing to increase their chances of passing these tests?
Who is benefitting from this? It’s not society.
What it says to society is that you have to play this cat and mouse game.
For instance, look at the rise in synthetic drugs and the countless deaths and emergency room visits that have resulted from them.
People don’t smoke fake weed because they can’t get real marijuana. They smoke fake weed because they know it won’t show up on a drug test.
Almost every type of synthetic drug available on the market today is intended to mimic the effects of a drug that isn’t all that difficult to obtain.
Are people really smoking bath salts because they can’t find real amphetamines? I’ve yet to meet a person who says they prefer the effect or the physical risk associated with synthetic drugs over just taking the real thing.
People take synthetic drugs because:
a) You can’t be arrested for being in possession of them
b) They don’t show up on drug tests
At least half the reason people risk their health is because of the drug testing market’s push into ever increasing market segments in order to sell more of their product/services.
Let’s hope that one day the size of the drug testing market begins shrinking instead of increasing.