We’ve all been hearing a lot about drug deaths at music festivals lately.
You probably expect me to say that drug use is not exclusive to music festivals and young adults — which is true.
But there is something even more starting. Find out what the related news and statistics reveal about overall illicit drug use in Australia.
In a recent article for the Sydney Morning Herald, Lucy Cormack reports on how easy it is to obtain drugs at music festivals.
An increase in appetite for illicit drugs
According to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australia consumes roughly 1.2 tonnes of MDMA yearly. That is much higher than the 700kg of heroin Australians consume in a year.
Likewise at the border, MDMA detections are on the rise. There is a reported 66 percent rise in MDMA border detections between 2015 and 2017.
According to Assistant Commissioner Smith, “If there wasn’t the demand, we wouldn’t see the seizures we are.”
He adds that judging by the events in the past 6 months, New South Wales residents have shown an increase in appetite for illicit drugs.
Drug detection cases now exceed drunk-driving cases
For the first time ever, arrests for drug detection has far exceeded drunk driving rates.
Across New South Sales, Assistant Commissioner Smith noted seeing more cases of drug detection that drunk driving.
Figures from 2015 show that in Victoria, 56,000 drivers were drug tested and one in 16 returned a positive result. This compares to one in 267 drivers testing positive for alcohol.
Thirty percent of fatal road accidents are due to drivers driving under the influence of illicit drugs. This is up from 16 percent of drug-driving road fatalities in 2013 according to Margaret Prendergast of Centre for Road Safety in NSW.
Ms. Prendergast adds, “With cannabis, you are about 1.3 times more likely to experience a crash. With amphetamines, six times. With ecstasy, it’s about 1.6 times.”
Fatalities are classified as drug-driving if it involves a driver or a passenger who are under the influence of illicit drugs.
Consequently, road safety authorities in other Australian states also worry about drug driving.
According to Assistant Commissioner Smith, “NSW is the litmus test for the whole country. If it’s happening here, it will happen in the rest of Australia.”
Drug-driving: Don’t let it happen to your employees
With the ease with which drug users can obtain drugs and the steady increase in drug-related deaths, it’s only responsible to want to safeguard your business and employees.
The first step in being proactive about drug abuse is to find out who among your employees use illegal drugs.
The impact of drug use is usually severe and affects many other people. For this reason, it’s crucial to deal with it before it’s too late.
Even habitual use is a big risk, especially for safety-sensitive industries such as construction, transport, and aviation.
By investing in a drug safety program that includes drug testing, you are providing a safe working environment for your workers. It tells them that you care about their health.
Let us help you develop a life-saving workplace drug policy development
Every company has its own vulnerabilities, which is why it’s important to work hand in hand with your team in defining acceptable and unacceptable behavior at work.
In addition, your policy will also detail consequences of unacceptable behavior.
With this in mind, the most comprehensive workplace drug policies also include high-quality drug awareness programs and random drug testing.
Finally, as a responsible business owner, establishing a workplace drug policy is not just about saving your business. It’s about protecting Australian workers and their families, too.