If you are concerned about your employees or co-workers taking cocaine, you are probably correct.
The popularity of cocaine among employed drug users may have peaked during the 1980s, but this drug still remains a major problem among Australians today.
According to the World Drug Report 2017, the annual prevalence of cocaine use in Australia doubled from 1% in 2004 to 2.1% in 2010. It remained at that level in 2013. This is very high by global standards: five times the global average and twice that in the European Union. (source)
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride belongs to a class of drugs called stimulants. Users snort it or rub it into their gums, and it produces a short-term euphoric feeling and a burst of energy.
It is extracted from the leaves of the coca bush found in Peru and Bolivia and then mixed with various chemicals.
The drug comes in the form of a white odourless powder and has a bitter taste.
Originally indigenous people in South America used cocaine for an increase in energy, to suppress the appetite, and as a local anaesthetic.
Since cocaine is illegally manufactured, there are no regulations in place for hygiene. Furthermore, it can be mixed or cut with dangerous substances as well as sugar, baking soda, and talcum powder.
Cocaine became popular in the 1900s, which tripled the reported cases of nasal damage. It is also known as candy, snow, and coke.
In Australia, 5.9% of residents above the age of 14 years have used cocaine at some point in their life, according to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey in 2007.
An employee can use cocaine discreetly and even function well at work, which is why it is one of the most popular of stimulant drugs in the world.
It is a drug that users can take for increased energy to meet a deadline or to present a very important report.
Effects of cocaine on the body
The effects of cocaine can be experienced as early as 30 minutes after taking it. The effects include:
- Dilated pupils
- Drying of the mouth
- An increase in breathing and heart rate
- Reduced appetite
- Improved strength and energy
- Increase in confidence
If taken in large doses, cocaine can induce psychosis, hallucinations, paranoid delusions and anxiety.
How does Cocaine work?
Cocaine affects the reward system of the brain. It does so by affecting the way dopamine is released and transmitted. Cocaine acts by binding to the dopamine transporter, blocking the removal of dopamine from the synapse. This means that Dopamine accumulates in the synapse to produce an amplified signal to the receiving neurons. This is what causes the euphoria commonly experienced immediately after taking the drug.
The following video illustrates this further:
Cocaine users experience a crash afterward. During a crash, a user feels lethargic, weakened, exhausted, unfocused, sad and depressed.
Long-term use of the drug can cause insomnia, depression, anxiety and paranoia, weight loss, sexual dysfunction, nasal damage, breathing difficulties, and psychosis.
The Effects of Cocaine On Your Workers
Cocaine is very addictive and can change your employee’s personality and performance. Your employee will often call in sick during a crash and you will notice his or her performance take a nosedive. A cocaine user will make poor judgements that will affect your business negatively.
A cocaine-user’s behaviour is also a cause for concern. Someone high on cocaine can become aggressive and violent. A user crashing on cocaine is unstable, unfocused, depleted, and socially-challenged. It’s not unheard of for a user to pick fights or to steal, creating a negative environment for your good employees.
A cocaine user also poses a safety risk and should not be operating heavy machinery, driving, flying. Similarly, they should not deal with important matters of business.
Cocaine use has been behind most work-related accidents which have led to injuries and deaths.
In the event of an injury or a death, it is you, the employer, who will shoulder the costs and settle Workman’s Compensation payments. It is also not unheard of for an aggrieved or injured employee to file lawsuits against a company or a business.
Drug testing for cocaine will help you curb cocaine use at work and deter employees from trying out the drug.
Your Employee Tested Positive For Cocaine-Use. Now What?
With a company drug policy in place, you will know how to proceed after an employee tests positive for cocaine use.
Your priority is keeping your employees safe. With a comprehensive and clearly-worded drug policy in place, everyone in the workplace will know what to expect once they tested positive for drug use.
Tips for Detecting Cocaine Abuse at the Workplace
Without the help of drug testing for cocaine, you can never be so sure if an employee uses cocaine. However, here are some physical signs of cocaine use and abuse:
- Bleeding or a runny nose
- Frequent licking of lips
- Restlessness, being fidgety
- A sudden burst of energy
- Overbearing confidence
- Endless talking
- Dilated pupils
How Effective Is Drug Testing For Cocaine?
A drug-testing program curbs drug abuse through the following:
- fear of getting caught
- possible punishment
- the severity of the penalty, i.e. getting fired
The most effective form of drug testing is random drug testing. That way, your employees cannot prepare for it by avoiding drug use momentarily.
As a consequence, a zero-tolerance drug use policy will deter your employees from continuing with their illegal drug use. In addition, it serves to prevent other employees from engaging in drug use.
Enforce A Strict “No Drug Use Policy” In Your Workplace
The best way to protect your business and other high-performing employees from the negative consequences of drug use is to craft a comprehensive safe workplace programme.
An excellently crafted one should include cocaine awareness programme and a cocaine drug testing programme.
Drug-Safe Australia will help you develop the most effective drug policy and tailor it to meet your company’s needs.
Get in touch with us today and don’t let another day go by with an employee getting away with drug use in your place of business.