Drug abuse has become one of the scourges of modern society, taking a heavy toll on personal lives, economic activity, and public safety. According to a report from the Recovery Centers of America, “Drug and alcohol use in the United States costs $1.45 trillion in economic loss and societal harm annually. This includes $578 billion in economic loss and $874 billion in societal harm through quality of life adjustment and premature loss of life.” While governments have been trying to address the problem through stricter regulatory and legislative measures, much of the progress has resulted from growing awareness about substance abuse and the development of innovative drug testing products that deliver greater accuracy and minimize the risk of results manipulation, says — Shawn Kilgarlin, medical devices expert at American Screening LLC.
“Drug screening plays a major role in the criminal justice system, the workplace, and rehabilitation programs for people with addictions, but it has become apparent that the standard methods of testing (urine, blood, hair, or saliva) have various shortcomings. On a positive note, the medical devices community has stepped up its efforts to develop faster, simpler, and more reliable drug tests, focusing on solutions that can help combat addiction in a more non-invasive manner,” Shawn Kilgarlin comments. An example is a fingerprint-based system which is especially suitable for drug treatment services. The compact portable device delivers results in under ten minutes, collecting fingerprint sweat samples that are tested for various drugs and their metabolites. Aside from its speed and accuracy, the system has the advantages of being tamper-proof and capable of indicating when drugs have been handled but not ingested, which is useful when the tests are administered to law enforcement officers who come in contact with illicit substances.
Another novel solution is ocular scanning, which has been implemented in Montgomery County – Dayton (Ohio) and is being trialed in Lucas County – Toledo (Ohio). Court officials believe the system will accelerate and improve the drug testing process while also offering a more budget-friendly option for local authorities and a more dignified alternative for those tested. Shawn Kilgarlin notes, “Developing systems that are tamper-proof and accurate is critically important, but new drug testing technologies also have to be readily available, which means that public agencies, healthcare facilities, and business organizations should be able to afford them. Easy access to testing is crucial for combating substance abuse and addressing the economic, societal, and personal problems it creates.”
Shawn Kilgarlin is a medical devices expert at American Screening LLC, a premier manufacturer and distributor of diagnostic tests and medical supplies to the United States, South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia. Headquartered in Shreveport (Louisiana), American Screening is among a handful of corporations to be certified under MDSAP (Medical Device Single Audit Program), making it compliant with the requirements for quality management systems in multiple jurisdictions. Shawn Kilgarlin has more than 20 years of experience in her field, successfully executing projects in new product development, as well as sales and marketing. Outside of work, the mother of four devotes her time to her family and pursues her passions of writing, painting, and helping those in need. Her charitable work includes support for Holy Angels – a non-profit organization caring for people with disabilities.
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