Drug use affecting Victorian workplaces, latest statistics

Weekend drug use is affecting about 10 per cent of Victorian employees as the new working week starts

About 10 per cent of Victorian employees have either taken a day off or gone to work feeling the effects of their drug use, new statistics show.

The poll conducted by the Australian Drug Foundation found 10 per cent of Victorian employees have either taken a day off and/or gone to work feeling the effects of their drug use.

In a large sample of Victorian workers, drugs were identified as illegal drugs, synthetic drugs and un-prescribed pharmaceutical medications.

Head of Workplace Services Phillip Collins says weekend drug use can have a major impact on workplace productivity, performance, absenteeism and office health and safety.

"Feeling the after effects of weekend drug use can be just as problematic as being intoxicated on the job," he says.

"Headaches, blurred vision, irritability, difficulty concentrating and extreme tiredness can all create organisational problems. "

Drugs and alcohol cost Australian businesses $6 billion a year in lost productivity and absenteeism alone.

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Australia, with the most recent National Drug Strategy Household Survey finding that more than 20 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds have used cannabis in the last 12 months.

Collins that many workplaces are now looking to drug testing as a solution to ensure workers aren’t under the influence of drugs while at work - but he warns that employers should be wary.

"Drug testing isn’t the only solution, and simply will not work when delivered in isolation," he says.

"All businesses need a formal workplace policy in conjunction with education, training and support programs." 

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