When urine drug testing started in the late 20th century, it was considered as a quite beneficial venture, with laboratories charging $50 onwards per specimen for regulated testing. However, in the 1990s, competition became so tough that the prices fell to below $20 per specimen and even lower than that. This was so because huge contracts were negotiated to reduce costs. The key for lower rates was also reduced courier cost which was achieved by sending multiple couriers in a single bag. Moreover, immunoassay analyzers were also modified to produce higher output with lower reagents. Cost saving was also done by reducing labor costs of operations like log in procedures, specimen receipts, etc. Positive or non-negative samples have higher costs as they need to be analyzed further for confirmation via GC/MS which is not only costly, but also time consuming, consuming expensive instruments. Therefore, laboratories are classified into 2 groups:
- High volume laboratories (Eg: 2000 – 10,000 samples/day)
- Low volume laboratories (Eg: below 2000 sample/day
The smaller laboratories tend to serve people who require special reports that larger laboratories are not able to cater to or those clients who prefer smaller laboratories. Many employers have used cost cutting methods via using ‘point of collection’ type of testing, which saves time and reduces costs. Many devices are now available that give the result by reading instantly from the sample or specimen. However, these kits might not be too reliable and are also known to be dependent on the operator. Many employers who use this technique don’t confirm the positive findings by further tests. This can have grave consequences especially when one is considering keeping the test as a condition for further employment. The employers tend to believe that they don’t need to spend extra money when the employee is supposedly into drugs and is not likely to be kept on job!
Even though, the drug testing industry is not as successful in monetary terms as it was in the past, the quantity of samples that come for testing is still quite sufficient and readily increasing in number. Nearly 54 million employees accept that their employer had, at some point in time, tested them for drug use. Even though, some studies show that drug use has declined over years, it is, however, still quite high. In 2006, about 20.4 million American employees were illegal drug users. Therefore, the US Federal government is targeting to invest over $13 billion to stop drug abuse addiction, impart treatment and rehabilitation to the addicts and to curb down drug trafficking.
It is known, without doubt, that illegal drug abuse is spread throughout North America due to which drug urine tests pay an important role to control and curb down this problem, especially for those employees who are working hard in different companies.