International testing

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD). IOAD is an annual, worldwide event that aims to shed light on the hundreds of thousands of people who die every year from overdosing on drugs.

Twenty years ago, IOAD was instituted by social health workers Sally J. Finn and Peter Streker in Australia as a local event. Over time, it has morphed into a global platform to unite people who have lost loved ones to overdoses and to help prevent future tragedies.

With opioid and heroin positivity and overdose deaths increasing substantially, there needs to be an ongoing global conversation about drugs and their impacts. According to the 2017 World Drug Report, “An estimated quarter of a billion people, or around 5% of the global adult population, used drugs at least once in 2015.”

This annual event has gained traction over the past two decades by helping the worldwide community get involved. Here is how you can help to spread awareness and join the conversation about drug overdoses, prevention, and education:

  1. Get Social: To encourage a global conversation, tweet your story or inspiration using the hashtag #OverDoseAware2017.
  2. Share a memorial: Share your story to honor a person who died, or nearly died, from an overdose on the IOAD website.
  3. Give to the cause: Donating to the IAOD can help support community education and advocacy. Simply fill out this online order form to make a donation


Globally, there are roughly 190,000 preventable drug overdoses each year. Let’s work together to decrease that number.

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To learn more about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.


Worldwide Economic Development and Drug Use

by Pablo Bolanos on March 2, 2017

Regardless of where we live in the world, socioeconomic status can influence our life experiences. From the neighborhoods were we grow up, to the extracurricular activities we take part in, many times the circumstances into which we are born can predetermine our futures and the futures of the generations that follow. According to the American Psychological Association, “socioeconomic status is a key factor that influences quality of life for children, youth and families… [and] affects human functioning in many ways, including development across the life span, psychological health and physical health.”

According to  2016 World Drug Report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, economic growth and poverty are the two most relevant factors in analyzing the links between economic development and drug use around the world. Although lower socioeconomic status is oftentimes quickly linked to a higher prevalence of drug use, research shows the association may not be completely accurate. For example, in the United States, the use of crack cocaine is regularly attributed to lower income communities, but in reality the difference in purity and price between crack cocaine and the powder version we sometimes associate with higher income users is minimal.

In addition to income, there are multiple factors that play into why certain drugs are more commonly used in certain parts of the world:

  • Profitability – Drugs whose production isn’t native to a specific region, like heroin in the United States, will demand higher sales prices and will often take hold in geographies with relatively higher levels of per capita income. This is because drugs can be difficult to acquire, generating higher demand, and therefore higher mark-ups, for drug traffickers and manufacturers
  • Geography – In contrast, regions that are not located near cocaine and heroin production areas, such as all of Africa, experience relatively low instances of reported use of both drugs
  • Wealth – Developed countries and wealthier societies’ propensity to experiment or use multiple drugs “recreationally” has shown to yield higher drug use

The graphic above, courtesy of the World Drug report depicts higher socioeconomic status’ influence on drug use, poverty however, is strongly associated with substance abuse disorders. According to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), “substance abuse disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.” The difference being that drug dependent people in countries with wide income inequality gaps are trapped in a vicious cycle of hardships and drug use due to factors which include:

  • Breakdown of family as a result of addiction
  • Lack of education
  • Limited access to employment
  • Lack of healthcare

That said, not everyone who lives in a poor community will become addicted to drugs. However, poverty does have strong associations with drug use disorders, whereas countries with middle or higher socioeconomic classes, tend to have a higher prevalence of “recreational” drug use and lower levels of addiction.

For more information about international drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

Webinar: Navigating Global Drug Testing

November 10, 2016International testing

Drug use is prevalent throughout the world. According to the 2015 World Drug Report, an estimated 246 million people have used an illicit drug in 2013 and about 27 million people suffer from drug addiction. For that reason, drug testing is crucial for international businesses when hiring new applicants or making decisions about current employees. In the […]

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Drug Abuse Spans the Globe

October 3, 2016International testing

The percentage of employees in the combined U.S. workforce testing positive for drugs has steadily increased over the last three years to a 10-year high according to the latest Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ data. In the United States, the media spotlight on drug-related topics, such as the opioid epidemic, frame drug abuse and addiction […]

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Increased Drug Use Fuels Global Drug Testing Market

July 14, 2016International testing

Drug use continues to make headlines, from the rise in marijuana use, to the recently publicized opioid epidemic and the continued danger posed by synthetic drugs. Less publicized is the impact of drug abuse on companies and society, and the search for ways to combat it. One solution that more policy-makers, employers and individuals are […]

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The United Kingdom has the Highest Cocaine Use in Europe

June 22, 2016International testing

Often associated with rock stars and the “social elite,” cocaine has a long history of use dating back to its origins as a medicinal compound in the late 19th century. Cocaine use reached its peak during the disco era in the 1970s and 80s. Recently, there has been a resurgence of cocaine use, and its […]

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International Drug Testing Q&A

June 14, 2016International testing

In the United States, workplace drug testing helps companies reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and establish safer drug-free work environments by deterring substance abuse. Abroad, the benefits of workplace drug testing programs are generally not as widely understood and resources used for educating employers are not as readily available. Drug use is prevalent throughout the world. […]

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International Drug Testing Questions & Answers

September 12, 2014International testing

Quest Diagnostics is a sponsor at this year’s International Forum for Drug & Alcohol Testing (IFDAT) conference in Belfast, Ireland. The conference enables employers and industry providers to share best practices, learn about new developments, and find ways to improve efficiencies in the international employee screening process. Coleen Volksdorf, Manager of International Services at Quest Diagnostics, […]

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