The manufacture, sale, and the possession of drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy, amphetamines, heroin, and LSD are illegal.
This is part of the appeal of synthetic drugs: legal drugs that provide the same kind of high as their illegal counterparts.
Manufacturers started making synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of these illegal substances so that people can get high on substances that are legal to purchase.
According to the Australian Alcohol and Drug Foundation, drug producers are creating new psychoactive substances (NPS) at an unprecedented rate. As of December 2015, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime registered 643 new psychoactive substances in its Early Warning Advisory.
As we all know, just because they’re not specifically banned does not mean they are safe. In fact, synthetic drugs may be even more harmful than their “regular” counterparts.
If you employ anyone who uses these synthetic drugs, you have a problem on your hands. However, there is something that can be done and has been proven to work in the battle against synthetic drug use.
Defining Synthetic Drugs
Synthetic drugs or new psychoactive substances (NPS) are created to imitate the effects of illegal drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, cannabis and ecstasy. They come in the form of powders, pills, bath salts, herbal highs, and herbal incense.
The manufacturers of these drugs are constantly working to stay one step ahead of the law. Every time a regulatory body bans any of the ingredients in their products, they rush to develop new chemicals that are not banned.
Synthetic Drugs at the Workplace
The appeal of synthetic drugs, such as synthetic cannabinoids is that they do not contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Without this active ingredient in cannabinoids, users can escape detection through the usual workplace drug testing methods. Therefore, they can get high without breaking the law.
For this reason, you need a drug testing company that keeps itself up to date with the latest iterations of synthetic drugs.
Signs of Synthetic Drug Use
Some synthetic drugs are deadlier than their “regular” counterparts. This is because synthetic drugs are made using a potentially lethal mix of chemicals with added fillers and cutting agents. It’s due to the other ingredients that make the effects so hard to predict.
Here are some effects of synthetic designer drugs:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Racing thoughts; Suicidal thoughts
- Paranoia; Psychosis
- Agitation; Anxiety
- Emotional instability
- Diminished cognitive ability; Dissociative state
- Erratic behaviour
The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) interviewed almost 900 synthetic drug users through the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) programme.
The report, released by the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) found that even users do not trust these legal substances. This gives us an idea of the psyche of a person who uses these synthetic drugs.
Do not let a synthetic drug-user take your business down with them.
Synthetics Drugs’ Impact on Employees
An employee who uses synthetic drugs at work triples their likelihood of being involved in a workplace accident. Unfortunately, the majority of people injured by drug-related accidents are non-drug users rather than the just the drug users themselves.
Picture an employee who operates heavy machinery being under the influence of a synthetic drug. That person has already diminished their capacity for productive work as well as their ability to keep their safety in check. Even more concerning at such a point is the safety of others.
The same is true for white collar professions, where a case of loss of judgement can have severe consequences on your company’s bottom line or public image.
As we know, man-made chemicals are notorious for inducing psychosis. Exposure to a person with erratic behaviour makes one feel unsafe and anxious. This can affect the performance of your non-drug using employees.
A drug user at work affects the satisfaction and well-being of the people who have to work with him or her.
If your drug using employee ends up harming any of your other employees, they may even file a lawsuit against you for your failure to provide a safe working environment. So that’s legal costs on top of insurance costs.
Your priority is to protect your employees from someone who uses synthetic drugs.
How To Protect Your Business From Synthetic Drug Users
With synthetic drugs, you are dealing with one of the most dangerous legal substances around. To protect your business and your employees, you need to develop and then enforce a strict workplace drug policy.
The policy should cover both a drug awareness programme and a drug testing programme. The former will help prevent the spread of drug use and the latter will help you identify the workers who are using synthetic drugs.
Drug Testing for Synthetic Drugs At Work
Synthetic drugs are particularly difficult to detect with the use of standard drug tests due to their ever-evolving ingredients.
To detect synthetic drugs requires a much more sophisticated and constantly updated drug test. Luckily, Drug-Safe Workplaces monitors new compounds added to the list of ingredients just to stay one step ahead of these deadly synthetic substances.
We keep up to date with the ever-evolving ingredients of synthetic drugs and develop synthetic drugs testing methods as a new formulation reaches the market.
Keeping Your Company and Workers Safe from Synthetic Drug Use
With close to twenty years experience in drug testing at work, Drug-Safe Workplaces is your natural ally. Keep your company and employees safe from synthetic drugs at the workplace. Our Australia-wide network of drug testing professionals is available to assist you, wherever you are.
- drug and alcohol policy development, tailored to your company’s needs
- drug awareness programs and education
- pre-employment drug screening
- blanket drug testing
- random drug testing
If you have any questions or concerns about potential synthetic drug use at your workplaces, please get in touch with us for a confidential discussion.