Amphetamines Testing And Everything You Need To Know About it
More often than not, staying awake and alert is an everyday struggle among people who work very late and long hours. To do just that, many workers load up on coffee. Some people, however, resort to stronger stimulants like amphetamines. With a chemical structure that closely resembles adrenaline, amphetamines can keep people awake for long periods of time. There are, however, a number of other effects that can spell disaster in a workplace setting.
Amphetamines at work is something CEOs, HR and safety officers should worry about. It’s just fortunate that there are now many strategies and solutions that will help them handle amphetamines at workplace concerns effectively.
What are Amphetamines?
Amphetamines are psychostimulant drugs that work by stimulating the central nervous system, suppressing the appetite, and increasing the production of certain chemicals in the body. Taken from its complete name alpha-methylphenethylamine, this type of drug is medicinally used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, when abused or overused, it can bring serious health damage to the user.
In Australia, the illegal use of amphetamines is prevalent and should cause an alarm to both residential and corporate units. According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey conducted in 2007, 6.3% of the Australian population had consumed amphetamines unlawfully at some point in their life.
Taking a closer look at amphetamines
Amphetamines are a group of related drugs that come in various forms, including tablets, capsules, powder, crystals, and red liquid. Amphetamines are commonly consumed by swallowing, smoking, or injecting them into the bloodstream. They can also be snorted or sniffed through the nose as some people prefer. A less common way of taking in amphetamines into the body is by inserting the drug through the anus.
Effects of amphetamines in the body
Belonging to the stimulants category, amphetamines may cause the following effects immediately after being taken into the body:
- Increasing bodily functions and activities, including heart breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure
- Providing more energy, confidence, and alertness
- Becoming anxious, irritable, and sometimes violent with no apparent reason
- Reducing appetite or the desire to consume food and drink
Frequent consumption, higher dosage, and overdose of amphetamines can result to more serious and even fatal conditions. Users of amphetamines should be aware of the long-term and severe side effects of the drug, which include the following:
- Brain damage, such as reduced memory function and mental and impairment
- Damaged immune system due to lack of food consumption and sleep
- Anxiety, tension, and violence
- Heart failure, seizures, and stroke.
The Impact of Amphetamines at Work
Keeping a worker awake and alert is among the many effects of amphetamines. Many who have used amphetamines at work claim the drug has helped them focus on their job and become more productive. However, the other side effects of amphetamines outweigh any supposed benefits claimed by its users.
When used for frequent and prolonged periods, amphetamines can destroy brain cell structures. Over time, the brain cells deteriorate to the point where the brain becomes practically incapable of functioning at a level that can be called normal. The use of amphetamines can also can trigger blurred vision and dizziness, which can be a huge problem if the worker is tasked with operating heavy equipment or driving a company car or truck. The risk of workplace incidents becomes greater, which could result in injury or death.
With each workplace accident that takes place because of amphetamines at work, the cost to employers become significantly higher. Workman’s Compensation claims and higher insurance premiums can take a huge toll on a business’ finances. Should any of the involved personnel file a case in court, employers can only expect those costs to become even higher.
What to do About Amphetamines at Work
Ideally, a business should give protection to the health and safety of everyone in the workplace. A well-written drug and alcohol policy should be able to help them do that and more. For such a policy to be effective, it must contain provisions for awareness and education programmes as well as drug testing—or amphetamines testing in this case—regimens.
Amphetamines are among the drugs that standard drug tests are capable of detecting. The most common amphetamines testing methods being employed today are:
- Urine testing – This is the most common method of amphetamines testing. Amphetamines are detectable in urine 2-5 hours after use, and can be detected for as long as four days after use.
- Saliva testing – This least-invasive method of amphetamines testing can detect the drug 5-10 minutes after use, and stays detectable for up to four days.
- Hair testing – More expensive that both urine and saliva testing, hair testing is capable of detecting amphetamines 5-7 days after use. The detection period is also longer at 90 days.
Developing a Comprehensive Amphetamines Safe Workplace Programme
For employers, a well-crafted drug and alcohol policy is the best option for protecting the company and more importantly, the health and safety of its personnel. With such a programme in place, everyone in the workplace—from management down to the rank-and-file—have clear guidelines to follow when it comes to drug use and abuse in the workplace. A drug and alcohol policy must contain the right programmes, including an amphetamines testing programme, to be effective in helping deal with amphetamines at workplace concerns.
Safe Work Laboratories can help companies develop a comprehensive amphetamines safe workplace programme. If you need to know more about developing a comprehensive amphetamines safe workplace program, please feel free to get in touch with us today for a confidential discussion.
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