Australia Drug Testing


By Australia Drug Testing / November 10, 2023

By Australia Drug Testing / November 10, 2023

Substance Abuse: The Cost to Employers

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Substance Abuse in the Workplace

This article covers statistics behind substance abuse in the workplace, statistics that can show us just how dangerous these activities really are. Drug and alcohol testing is a relatively new workplace practice, and it remains as a challenging point of discussion for many business leaders and their employees. Implementing workplace drug testing is a balancing act between ensuring the safety of the workplace and respecting the workers’ privacy.

An employee’s decision to take drugs becomes the concern of the entire organisation because it endangers the safety and wellbeing of everyone in the workplace. Employers particularly have a legal responsibility to provide workers with a safe environment. Failing to fulfill this responsibility can expose employees, the production, the business process, and the management to significant risks and hazards.

Substance Abuse in the Workplace

The possibility of substance abuse in the workplace will only continue to increase as Australia’s drug crisis worsens. For you to better understand the importance of drug-safe workplaces, this article will look into existing issues relating to drug and alcohol testing in the work environment. The impact of these issues has extended to the policies, guidelines, and customs surrounding the use of illicit substances.

Facts and Statistics about Alcohol and Other Drugs in Australia

Australian trends in drug use in 2020 reveals that drug consumers spent $11.3 billion on substance misuse. Substance abuse in the workplaces cost Australian workplaces an estimated $6 billion per year in lost productivity. The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, a data collection and analysis effort commissioned by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, reports that alcohol and nicotine remain the most consumed drug in Australia. In addition, methylamphetamine is the most consumed illicit drug in the country. Methylamphetamine, popularly referred to as “ICE,” is a well-known catalyst for violent behavior’s.

The average consumption of cocaine and heroin in capital cities exceeded regional consumption. Meanwhile, people in regional areas consume more nicotine, alcohol, methylamphetamine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and cannabis than drug users in capital cities.

Of all crimes committed in Australia, 80% is estimated to be drug related. Statistics from Workcover reports that in serious accidents involving drugs or alcohol in the workplace, 80% of the injured are non-users.

Approximately 75% of adult illicit drug users in Australia are employed and frequently use drugs at work, which can negatively affect job performance and cause difficulties in the workplace.

Various government studies further report the following effects of drug abusers to the workplace:

Given this facts and statistic, any intervention to provide these people with help while protecting the safety of those they work with requires workplace drug testing.

Benefits of Drug Testing in the Workplace

Considering the loss of morale, productivity, revenue, and even life, business leaders cannot afford the risk of drug or alcohol use in the workplace. Here is a shortlist of the benefits of workplace drug testing:

Guarantees Workplace Safety

Conducting drug testing will ensure everyone in the organization that they are safe from the harmful effects of drug use in the workplace. Statistical data provide evidence that an employment setting where all workers are sober will have dramatically less drug-related accidents.

Increases Productivity and Improves Performance

Workplace drug testing will allow business leaders to identify staff members who are not performing well because they are under the influence of illicit drugs. Testing will also help the company recognise workers who are at risk of using drugs. This information can be used to extend help to those who need assistance, such as rehabilitation. By implementing a policy supporting drug testing, the business gains a deterrent to drug or alcohol use in the workplace.

Protects the Company’s Profits

Substance abuse in the workplace will result in absent employees, distracted and unfocused workers, accidents, and even injuries. Using drugs or consuming alcohol in the workplace disrupts the business and may lower profits. Drug testing will enable employers to strike directly at the heart of the issue and focus instead on delivering products and services to increase profits.

Protects the Business from Lawsuits

If drug or alcohol-related incidents result in injuries, accidents, or death, your business becomes legally liable. A worker who uses illicit drugs threatens the safety of co-workers, clients, and other people. Without drug and alcohol testing, you remain unaware and ignorant of significant danger, and you will be held accountable. Protect your business from the possibility of getting involved in an expensive lawsuit. You will not just save money; you will save your company’s public profile and reputation too.

Management of Risk with a Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy

A drug and alcohol testing policy for the workplace is necessary for an employer to carry out testing in Australia. A crucial distinction must be made that the goal is to promote drug-safe, not drug-free, workplaces. The distinction is a realistic recognition that it is now impossible to insist on a drug-free community. In modern society, many people rely on medication or prescribed drugs to lead normal and productive lives.

This policy will explicitly define concepts of acceptable and inappropriate drug and alcohol consumption. The employer should also provide specific details on the testing, such as where, how, why, and by whom the tests will be done. Finally, the policy should explain how the outcomes of the testing will be used to evaluate a worker’s competence for service and the effect of a positive result. Employers should take care to include the situations in which employee dismissal may result from a positive test.

All personnel need to be mindful of the regulation and understand it to comply with fair policies and procedures.

One Last Note

The presentation of facts, statistics, and issues above emphasize the rationale for workplace drug and alcohol testing. Addressing substance use in the workplace with an aggressive policy and mindful implementation will promote safety, security, productivity, and profitability in the company. Conducting drug and alcohol testing in the workplace will not be a simple task, but the guaranteed protection of empowered workers makes testing an integral part of any business enterprise in Australia.