If you are still thinking that Australia’s drug epidemic is the result of an overly dramatic media or it is “over there” and not impacting people in your ‘world’ or in your company – think again.
News in the past few days from authorities in Sydney is proof that drug activity in this city (and all the other state capitals) is rampant.
Interestingly this fact comes from a highly credible source that is hard to argue with…
The Federal Government conducted a series of drug testing campaigns by examining waste water from cities and towns. While there were traces literally everywhere, they found that Sydney is the cocaine capital of Australia.
Unfortunately the problem is not limited to some isolated demographics. Cocaine is being used everywhere. From workers and sporting stars to lofty board rooms. As evidenced by the people facing our courts.
The situation is so bad that NSW Police set up a special team called Task Force Northrop.
Pizza or Cocaine?!
The police officers have discovered that cocaine is being bought and delivered in Sydney as easily as wanting take away food!
Task Force Northrop is targeting dial-a-dealers. These are people who drive all over Sydney delivering packets of cocaine to their customers.
Cocaine users simply ring up, place their order and wait for the delivery.
“It’s just like ordering pizza”, said Detective Chief Inpector Stuart Bell to Channel Nine.
Police tactics have intercepted delivery drivers and their customers. The deliveries are not 1-2 bags of cocaine either. They are finding a dozen to two dozen bags each time worth up to $7,500 in the vehicles.
All heroin is bad and it can kill you, sometimes quicker than others. Tragically, for 13 people from Sydney a batch of corrupted heroin led to their deaths in recent weeks.
The NSW State Coroner said all 13 people were found with needles still in their arms and drug paraphernalia scattered around them indicating that they died soon after injecting.
At the same time, a cluster of deaths from opioid use has occurred in Sydney with six people losing their lives.
An inquest in Sydney has heard that there are 750,000 people who are using opioids. Counsel assisting the inquiry, Peggy Dwyer, said more people have died from opioids than heroin now: 2145 versus 985. The lethal drugs include fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, tramadol and pethidine.
Ms Dwyer said levels of prescription opioid overdose are at record levels.
A Needle In His Arm
Sadly, Drug-Safe Workplaces founder Michael White knows only too well about this. He will never forget the day the wife of his long-time business partner called him. She told him John had been found in an alleyway at Kings Cross with the heroin needle still in his arm .
In his case it was pure heroin which took his life.
Michael and John had worked side by side in their business for more than a decade. Michael never knew that for 13 of those years John had been a heroin addict.
This is a case in point. We all know that you simply cannot know the lifestyles of all your workers. But you can’t even know the lifestyles of those you work with on a daily basis. If a person has a secret addiction they will work very hard to keep it hidden.
The way to ensure that your workplace is drug-safe is to allow on-site drug screening.
What You Have To Gain
As an employer you probably understand what you stand to lose when it comes to drugs in the workplace.
When you implement a drug-safe program you are saying to your workers that you value them. You want to ensure a safe and healthy place of work.
Beyond minimising risk, this is obviously good for staff morale. If the workplace is “clean” the employees have peace of mind. There is a lot less risk of people being injured, products being broken, vehicles or equipment being damaged.
There is a big chance that the staff are working hard and performing well.
Isn’t that what every employer wants to know? And have?
It is a big return on investment.
If a drug screening regime detects workers who are using illicit substances then you have identified a potential risk element to their enterprise. It can now be removed by having those people take leave and undergo a rigorous counselling-rehabilitation program provided by a third party.
Meanwhile the business continues to function and is safe.
What if a business owner decides to ‘play the odds’?
The “It will never happen to me” scenario.
They have made themselves vulnerable to potentially serious and/or tragic circumstances. They risk the following:
- workplace injuries
- damaged assets and stock
- loss of reputation leading to cancelled contracts and exiting customers
- lawsuits due to negligence
- unfair dismissal claims (due to lack of a proper drug policy framework)
The risks are real and the cost of being over-confident could be losing the whole business.