Ice use is a problem not exclusive to adults. In the past five years, it has become the drug of choice of teenagers in Australia.
In an article by Esther Tan for the Sydney Morning Herald, she details the findings of commissioner Dan Howard in a public inquiry to find effective ways to combat rising levels of ice use in the country.
According to the Ted Noffs Foundation — the state’s only provider of drug and alcohol rehab beds for teenagers in NSW — ice has been the most popular drug among teenagers since 2014.
In fact, opioids (including heroin and fentanyl) now have a reputation as an old man’s drug among teenagers.
Childhood Trauma Increases Likelihood of Ice Abuse
The commissioner found that many of the teenagers with ice abuse problems started at a very early age. Some chronic users are as young as 14 years old. These 14-year-olds report to having their first ice use experience as early as when they were 10 years old.
Many teenage ice users in the facility share terrible childhood experiences. One thing they have in common? The memory of their first time being high on ice: wonderful. Unbeknownst to these kids, things would escalate pretty quickly and spiral beyond their control.
Matt Noffs, the CEO of the Ted Noffs Foundation wants the public to know that 80 percent of teenage ice users have mental health issues. And that ice use should not be simplified to teenagers “just making a bad choice”. As a matter of fact, the drug has strong links to a traumatic childhood and poverty. Many ice users in the rehabilitation centre were victims of molestation, rape, and prostitution.
Noffs adds that we have a long way to go in the field of alcohol and drug addiction. But making the connection between trauma and drug use is a compassionate step forward.
You can read the original article here.
How Can You Tell Who Is At Risk?
The answer of course is, you can’t. It is a well established fact that drug users are expert at disguising their addiction. Someone who is in merely in danger of succumbing to a drug addiction is equally hard to spot.
So what can we do? Not hire young people? Clearly that is not the answer. Especially when you consider that people deserve a chance. As we have found out, most often those at risk are victims of abuse and trauma.
How To Keep Your Company Safe From Ice Drug Use
Possibly the best thing you can do as an employer is to provide a structure that acts as a clear barrier to harmful drug abuse.
This structure is of course a workplace drug testing program. This does not have to be expensive. It does however need to be tailored correctly to your company’s needs and circumstances.
We all employ young people, but the risks of drug use are clearly not confined to Generation Z.
In fact, almost 70 percent of illegal drug users belong to the Australian workforce. Ice is particularly dangerous and has the biggest impact on workers and their families. The drug can change the person abusing it. Moreover, ice users create a volatile and unstable environment around them. This is particularly harmful in a workplace setting. Not only does it affect the person taking the drug, but also co-workers, clients and the public image of your company at large.
You have the option to keep your staff and the general public safe by having a clear stance about illicit drug use at work. With a clearly-worded and legally enforceable workplace drug and alcohol policy, you are letting your employees know that you care about their health and safety.
Maintain a Drug-Safe Workplace Environment
Drug-Safe Australia can help you create a drug-safe workplace where your employees can thrive. Young and old.
Together, we will work with you to define what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable risks and behaviour. This will form the basis of your drug and alcohol policy. Subsequently we will be able to educate and train staff as well as conduct the appropriate levels of drug testing.
Ultimately, we will guide you through the process and make it easier with our extensive multi-industry expertise.
If you would like to know more about creating a tailored, cost-efficient drug and alcohol safety program for your company, get in touch with us today. Call us at 1300 378 472 or through our secure online form.