Focus on workplace drug use during Drug Action Week

By: Chris Smith

Not enough is being done to focus on the problems of drug taking in the workplace and yet 70 percent

Not enough is being done to focus on the problems of drug taking in the workplace and yet 70 percent of drug users in Australia are employed, according to drug and alcohol testing and screening specialist Frontline Diagnostics.

Drug Action Week, held from 22 to 28 June, is a national initiative of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) which aims to raise awareness about alcohol and other drugs issues in Australia and highlight the achievements of the dedicated individuals who work to reduce alcohol and drug-related harm.

"Drug Action Week is a great initiative and it needs to include the awareness of drugs in all parts of the community including the workplace," says Frontline Diagnostics Managing Director Michael White.

"Generally, people in the community think of chronic drug users being unemployed but that’s just not the case. Despite this, most organisations have no drug-safe program in place and, in many cases, are unaware of any drug and alcohol problem there might be in their workplace.

"Most drug-safe programs have been implemented in the safety-sensitive industries such as transport, mining and engineering, but it’s not just safety that suffers when drugs are mixed with work, it is also productivity and reputation.

"From our experience, it is not unusual to find 15 per cent substance abuse in the workplace. The objective of a Drug-Safe Workplace program is to show the non-users that they can take control of their own welfare and assist workmates to actively eliminate alcohol and other drugs from the workplace," he says.

White says it is very important that any drug-safe workplace program be communicated throughout a company so as to ensure management, staff and unions feel comfortable with its development and implementation.

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