Substance Abuse, Misuse And Addiction – Alcohol & Other Drugs

Passed Out Man Behind Scattered Drugs and Glass of Alcohol

What Exactly Is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is characterised by excessive alcohol, cigarette, or drug use. It is also known as substance misuse, substance dependence, or addiction.

People use drugs for various reasons, such as to unwind, have fun, numb physical or mental pain, or escape from issues or challenges they face in life. Unfortunately, while substance abuse may provide short-term relief from stress and anxiety, it can have negative long-term effects on health and wellness.

Substance abuse can also result in addiction because certain drugs are highly addictive. If you become addicted to a substance, you need to consume more of it to feel the psychoactive or euphoric effects. And this may lead to severe health conditions such as liver and kidney damage, heart problems, respiratory issues, etc.

How Does Substance Abuse Impact the Society and Workplace?

One in twenty Australians struggles with addiction or substance abuse. Among the most frequently abused substances is alcohol and tobacco. This is why more than 9% of Australia’s disease is attributable to smoking. And about 1 in 6 Australians older than 14 drink alcohol excessively, leading to short-term risk of accidents, injuries, or violent behaviour, as well as long-term medical consequences including liver disease and mental disorders.

The illicit substances most frequently used in Australia are Cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, and meth/amphetamines.

Employee substance abuse results in several costly issues for businesses, including lost productivity, accidents, and a rise in health insurance claims. For instance, companies in the United States lose $100 billion annually due to employee alcohol and drug abuse.2

Other issues that alcohol and drug addiction can result in on the job ,aside from accidents, lower productivity, and financial problems, are :

Benefits of Implementing Workplace Drug Testing Policies

A comprehensive workplace drug testing policy favours both the employer and employees. In addition, it provides several benefits to the company during pre-employment and on the job.

Workplace Drug Testing Promotes a Safer Workplace

Workplace drug testing guarantees workplace health and safety. For example, it ensures that tasks that include handling potentially harmful chemicals, operating large machinery, or running vehicles for your business are handled by drug-free employees.
This prevents workplace mishaps that can result in huge losses, injuries, and even fatalities.

Safety Improvements Lead to Better Productivity

Workplace drug testing lowers accidents and creates a safe working environment. Employees are impressed by their employer’s commitment to ensuring a safe working environment when they realise that a drug-testing program follows strict criteria. This improves employee morale spurring them to work harder and more productively.

Drug Users Can Be Screened Out by Pre-employment Testing

Pre-employment drug tests are viewed as an unnecessary expense by some businesses. However, you quickly realise the importance of this test when you weigh the possible expense of dealing with a drug user among your staff. It is preferable to interview potential employees before letting them join the business to avoid employing a drug addict who may cause damage to your company.

Reduces Potential Violence/Conflict in the Workplace

Addicts who use drugs can act more violently, especially those who use stimulants like cocaine or ice. Your company can identify and deal with drug-using staff by implementing a drug-testing program before any conflicts or violent situations arise.

Creates A Healthier Workplace

Abuse of drugs has various health hazards. Workplace health can be considerably improved by the deterrent effect of drug testing at the workplace and employee education on these health dangers.

Workplace Drug Testing Reduces the Risk of Injuries and Accidents

Abusing substances at work can result in fatalities or serious injuries because it impairs decision-making, reaction time, and motor abilities. Therefore, employers should take reasonable precautions for their employees’ health and safety. One approach to do this is to put in place a program for drug and alcohol testing.

Reduces Worker’s Compensation Claim

One of the most significant advantages that a workplace drug testing program can offer to a business is the reduction in worker’s compensation claims. This is because 50–70% of workplace accidents involve employees who are drug or alcohol users.3 It will be easier for you to hold employees accountable for positive test results if your testing procedure conforms with state legislation, making it harder for them to pursue worker’s compensation claims. Furthermore, by implementing a drug testing policy, firms can lower their workers’ compensation premiums and reduce workplace accidents.

Reduces Employee Absenteeism

You can decrease employee absenteeism with a strict workplace drug testing policy. Employees impaired by drugs or alcohol miss more work than their sober coworkers. And when they show up for work, they may become preoccupied with unresolved personal matters, health challenges, or hangovers. Programs for testing for drugs and alcohol help workers overcome difficulties with drug addiction, which lowers absenteeism and increases their work output. Additionally, these initiatives aid companies identify early indications of drug usage among employees, enabling them to step in before the issue gets out of hand.

Are There Any Regulations for Drug Testing Policies?

Yes, there are laws that govern workplace drug testing policies that help curb substance abuse. For example, under the Australian Work health and safety (WHS) laws, your business must ensure that your worker’s and other people’s health and safety are not at risk.

As a result, many businesses or employers are considering random drug and alcohol testing to detect substance use before or throughout the workday. Workplace drug testing is crucial in high-risk industries like mining, construction, transportation, or aviation. It is essential because it can prevent workers from using illicit drugs and alcohol, which may lead to accidents and fatalities.

Substance Abuse: Street Names of Illicit Drugs

People who are addicted to drugs call drugs by their street names. Even a wide range of pharmaceuticals, including prescription medications, have street names. Drug street names enable drug users to covertly discuss their use and avoid detection. This is why it’s essential to understand the common terms used for various illicit and prescription drugs.

Marijuana: Ganja, 420, Kush, Mary Jane, Aunt Mary, Baby, Chira, Boom, Bobby, Chronic, Ditch, Grass, Pot, Zambi, Weed, Torch, Greens, Nigra, Hash, and Weed.

Benzodiazepine: Bennies, Roofies, Tic-Tacs,

Heroin: China White, Flea Powder, Polvo, Sack, Aunt Hazel, Big H, Black Pearl, Brown Sugar, Charley, China White, Dope, Good Horse, Hero, Little Boy, Smack, and Mud.

Methamphetamines: Speed, Crank, Tina, Uppers, Blue Devils, Beanies, Crystal, Crystal Meth, Fast, Ice, Rock, Yellow Powder, and Speckled Birds.

Inhalants: Buzz Bomb, Moon Gas, Poppers, Air Blast, Bolt, Climax, Bullet Bolt, Boppers, Discorama, Hardware, Heart-On, Laughing Gas, Thrust, Medusa, Whiteout, Honey Oil, and Satan’s Secret.

Cocaine: Blow, Coke, Powder, Snow, Candy, Freeze, Girl, Happy Dust, Mama Coca, Mojo, Monster, Nose, Pimp, Shot, Smoking Gun, Sugar, and White Powder.

Clubs Drugs: XTC, Molly, Angel Dust, Mexican Mushrooms,

Synthetic Drugs: K2, Black Mamba, Vanilla Sky, White Magic

How to Recognise Substance Abuse

Substance abusers may develop injuries and medical issues or cause problems at work. In addition, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as body aches and discomforts that only go away by consuming more of the substance.

How to recognise substance abuse includes conducting drug tests like the Saliva Drug Test regularly or following any reasonable suspicion. For example, you can rightly suspect substance abuse if an employee frequently fails to fulfil obligations at work, gives up social, professional, or leisure pursuits, and uses prescription drugs repeatedly, even while aware of the impact or danger.

Conclusion

When workers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the risk of accidents increases dramatically. About 16% of emergency room patients who have sustained workplace injuries had alcohol in their systems.4 Employee substance abuse endangers personal safety, the safety of others, and the ability to perform critical tasks. Employers of any organisation can implement a workplace substance abuse policy that will cut down on lost productivity and create a safer working environment for everyone.

Australia Drug Testing provides accurate and affordable workplace drug testing kits for urine or saliva drug tests. Do you need to curb any drug abuse-related incidents within your organisation? Contact Us.

References

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