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Workplace drug abuse

Workplace drug abuse

Workplace drug abuse

Workplace drug abuse may not be evident in your workplace, but statistically at least one of your employees will be abusing. The question is, what are you doing about it? Are you currently doing any testing? If you are, are you following a strict policy of no to drugs?

The figures for substance abuse in the United States of America are astounding.

Here are statistics from the American Council for Drug Education.

  • 60% of the world’s illegal drugs are consumed by Americans.
  • 2,000,000 Americans use heroin.
  • 6,000,000 use cocaine.
  • 18,000,000 suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • 23,000,000 people use marijuana at least four times in a week.

Of all substance users, 74.8 percent are employed and active in the workplace, this means that 12.9 million individuals actively use drugs in the workforce, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

Using drugs impairs decision-making abilities as well as physically impairs people, this is a deadly concoction when on the job. In fact, between 10 and 20 percent of American workers who die at work has tested positive for drugs or alcohol. A study by OSHA states that the most dangerous occupations, such as mining and construction also have the highest rates of abuse used by their employees.

Links to workplace drug abuse.

Workplace drug testing.

Symptoms of drug abuse.

Effects of drug abuse.

Workplace policies and procedures.

How to help an addict.

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Abusing drugs and alcohol

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Abusing drugs

Do you know who is abusing drugs around you? It’s not necessarily whom you think or what you think!

Most people believe that prescription drugs are safe because a doctor prescribed them. The fact is they are only safe when prescribed and taken in accordance with the doctor’s specific orders. Proper usage of prescription drugs can help people protect their health and be more productive in life. But, when taken for non-medical or recreational purposes, prescription drugs are no safer than illicit or street drugs. The misconception of prescription drugs as legal and safe, even when abused, is particularly strong.

Sources indicate that abuse is a serious problem especially among teens and young adults. Parents and employers need to be aware of family and employees abusing drugs. Examples of at-risk prescription drugs include Percoset, Percodan and Oxycontin. A drug like oxycontin is a synthetic opiate, which is very addictive. Often, those who abuse it eventually seek out easier to obtain and cheaper alternatives such as heroin.

Prescription drug abuse.

Abusing drugs

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines prescription drug abuse as the use of any prescription drug such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, or sedatives, without a doctor’s prescription and simply for feeling or experience the drug causes. Prescription drug abuse has been identified as a growing problem in American workplaces.

How can you identify this problem and help? There are some simple steps you can take to help prevent this type of drug abuse.

  • Make sure medications are taken as directed.
  • Don’t share or borrow pills.
  • Securely store and count prescriptions pills. (Keep in mind, many teens and young adults get their drugs from the own family’s medicine cabinet.)
  • To dispose of unused medications, mix them with an undesirable substance (e.g., used kitty litter, coffee grounds).
  • Screen them with a simple drug test kit.

Drugs have different effects on people.  So how do you tell if someone is, in fact, abusing drugs? Some indicators may mimic symptoms of common illnesses such as a cold, and are therefore difficult to detect. Other signs may be more obvious though. If your coworkers frequently have accidents or exhibit erratic behavior, or have dilated pupils and slurred speech, then this may be an indication of intoxication or drug use.

Other signs of drug abuse include extreme mood swings, paranoia, glassy eyes and noticeable exhaustion. Frequent absences from work should also raise red flags. NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) estimates that absenteeism of drug users is 66 percent higher than that of other employees. If you notice these symptoms, it is time to tell a supervisor and start workplace drug testing before the situation turns tragic. Identify drug abuse.

Here is a useful link to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.