News

Fentanyl and Oxycodone – do Australian workplaces need to be alert or alarmed?

fentanyl oxycodone australia

Fentanyl — brand names include Durogesic and Actiq — and Oxycodone — brand names include OxyContin and Endone — are prescription-only drugs in Australia.

Both have an effect similar to codeine but are much more powerful and potentially dangerous pain relievers than Codeine. Consequently, they are prescribed much less.

And unlike codeine, routine drug screens such as urine and saliva tests cannot detect Fentanyl and Oxycodone.

These powerful pain relievers have a strong effect on workplace performance. And extremely dangerous when used by someone in safety-specific tasks like driving, flying, and building.

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Fake Urine Detection

fake urine detection

Safework Laboratories has responded to the increase in synthetic or fake urine detection in our laboratories.

At the moment it is a very small percentage of our overall laboratory workload, but the numbers are rising.

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Legal cannabis in Australia – what are the workplace testing implications?

marijuana cannabis in australia

The Federal Greens party in Australia announced that they would push to make cannabis or marijuana legal for all people over 18 years old.

This continues a topic of conversation that has been occurring in Australia for several years. A case made more pressing given the recent legalisation of cannabis in several states in the USA, and the recent legal changes to the status of medicinal cannabis.

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Hair testing for illicit drugs in Australia

hair testing

Hair testing for illicit drugs is incorrectly referred to as “hair follicle testing”. As a matter of fact, only the hair shaft goes undergoes testing and not the follicle beneath the scalp.

Hair testing for drugs is rapidly becoming more frequent in Australia, primarily in:

  • Family law court or disputed child custody situations
  • Return to work or proof of abstinence programs (a requirement by a regulatory body or a court diversion program)

However, the limitations and variations between different types of testing are often poorly understood by the end user.

This guide aims to correct some myths and provide a greater understanding of the finer detail of hair testing.

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Singapore Airlines Pilot Fails Alcohol Breath Test

drug testing pilots

An intoxicated pilot is not someone you want flying your aircraft, period.

You’d be surprised to know that even the most reputable airlines with the most stringent of rules and regulations also deal with alcohol use among staff.

As reported by ABC Network Australia, a Singapore Airlines flight was barred from leaving Melbourne airport.

It was due to their pilot failing the random alcohol breath test.

A drunk pilot is a terrifying prospect for a passenger. Much more alarming for a company who has the pilot on staff.

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Workplace Drug Testing

drug testing lab

The practice of workplace drug testing has been in existence for many years now, but it remains a controversial issue for many businesses.

For an employer it is an obvious fact they want to know about their staff members. On the other hand, employees often claim that workplace drug testing is a violation of their right to privacy.

Using an employer’s point of view, here are the most significant pros and cons of drug testing in the workplace.

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2018 Prescription drug changes and implications for Drug and Alcohol policies

prescription drugs

On February 1st, 2018 codeine became a prescription-only drug in Australia. This includes advertised brand names such as Panadeine, Panadeine Forte, and Nurofen Plus.

What this means is that no over the counter medications purchased in Pharmacies or Supermarkets will contain codeine or opiates. This includes painkillers and cold and flu tablets.

This may have implications for many workplace Drug and Alcohol testing policies, specifically for declared medications.

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