Amphetamines continue to pose an ever-present threat to Australia’s workplaces. While drug abuse remains a prevalent problem among blue-collar industries, research shows an increasing number of white-collar workers who also use drugs. For employers, a strong workplace safety programme that includes regular amphetamines testing can stop drug abuse from harming their businesses.
What Is Amphetamine?
Amphetamine belongs to a class of drugs called stimulants. They stimulate the nervous system and speed up brain activity.
Its chemical structure closely resembles that of adrenaline, in that it helps people stay awake for long periods of time.
The effects of amphetamine include:
- increased energy
- increased alertness and excitement
- suppressed appetite
- unusual chattiness
- fidgety behaviour
The Key Difference Between Amphetamines And Methamphetamines
It is common to mix up methamphetamine and amphetamine. They are both very similar and produce the same effects.
Their difference lies in their chemistry: amphetamine is chemically phenylethylamine, while methamphetamine is N-methylamphetamine. Said another way, methamphetamine is a stronger form of amphetamine.
In the past, amphetamines and methamphetamine could be loosely prescribed and easily obtained over the counter. Patients often took these drugs to treat asthma attacks, depression, alcoholism, and obesity.
However, as news of their addictive properties spread, authorities clamped down on the sale of amphetamine and methamphetamine products. Today, a prescription for amphetamines is strictly regulated. It is prescribed for people who have narcolepsy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Why Workers Use Amphetamine
Amphetamines are popular in the workplace because of their stimulant properties. By using them, employees can remain alert and productive.
Workplaces–especially those with pressure-filled, competitive environments–make the perfect breeding ground for drug abuse. Faced with competition and deadlines, it becomes tempting for your workers to take anything that can help them cope–including drugs.
While amphetamine use is noted in many industries, there are some that are particularly vulnerable.
Some industries with a high rate of amphetamine use include:
- administrative services
Demanding and high-pressure environments like advertising firms, law firms, and financial markets will also find methamphetamine users in their ranks.
While amphetamines work to keep the user awake, there are serious consequences to its use and abuse. Although not immediately evident, the effects will eventually present themselves in the workplace.
Coming Down On Amphetamine
Amphetamine users can go for days without sleeping while high on the drug. However, what comes up must come down eventually. And the amphetamine crash can be an unpleasant experience.
A user coming down on amphetamine can collapse from exhaustion due to lack of sleep. He or she may need days or weeks to recover depending on how long they stayed awake.
An amphetamine user may be malnourished and depressed. He or she may also be prone to developing several psychiatric conditions.
Effects on Amphetamine Use On Your Business
If you have a business and your best performers are amphetamine users, know that they will eventually burn out. Good performance will not last for long if amphetamines are behind it.
Amphetamine users will eventually underperform, engage in absenteeism, and pose a danger to your workplace and your other employees.
Amphetamines Testing As A Form Of Prevention
As an employer, you have a duty and obligation to your employees, part of which is ensuring their safety.
Amphetamines testing allows you to identify amphetamine users at work and prevent occurrences that can seriously hurt your business.
While it’s difficult to definitely identify who is using amphetamines without testing them, here are some of the common signs:
- paranoia and hallucinations
- ability to go for long periods without resting or eating
- grinding of teeth
If you suspect that your employee is using amphetamines or other drugs, confirm it through a drug test. A random drug testing included in your workplace safety programme will help identify employees using amphetamines.
How Amphetamines Testing Works
Drug detection companies usually send their testing vans to your workplace. Mobile drug testing is quick and convenient since the tests will be done on your employees on company grounds. Drug testing teams may conduct the tests using saliva, urine, or hair samples from your employees.
A urine test can detect the presence of amphetamines from two to five days. For a saliva test, it’s from one to five days. For a hair follicle test, traces of amphetamines can be detected for up to 90 days.
Establish A Workplace Safety Programme That Includes Amphetamines Testing
The shocking figures on amphetamine use call for employers to implement regular amphetamines testing in the workplace. However, any testing must always be firmly backed by a strong workplace safety programme.
To be effective, a workplace safety programme should also include training for drug abuse awareness. It will teach your employees to be aware of the following:
- harmful effects of drug abuse
- risks of drug abuse at work
- sanctions and penalties if found guilty of drug use
By having a programme, you can promote a safe and healthy work environment for everyone. You’ll also be able to attract the best employees and clients to your company.
Let your employees know the importance of workplace safety and good health. If one of your employees tests positive for amphetamine use, the options should be clear in your workplace drug policy.
As an employer, you need to stop drug abuse before it’s too late. Any injuries at work due to drug abuse can be expensive and traumatic for everyone.
Drug-Safe Australia has been helping businesses in Australia develop strong workplace safety programmes. We combine education with testing, along an option for rehabilitation. Call us now and we will help you create a workplace safety programme that can keep your business safe.