The impact of COVID-19 on alcohol and other drug use at work in 2021

Alcohol and drug use during COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 on alcohol and other drug use at work is proving to be a long term problem. With the stress of the pandemic, many people have turned to substance abuse to cope.

We’ve seen similar trends happen after highly traumatic events. For example, the number of Australians who drank alcohol increased following the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. Alcohol consumption rates also jumped after the horrific Queensland floods in 2011.

How can public health officials deal with the growing threat of substance abuse during COVID-19? What can state and federal government officials do to help?

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Synthetic drug deaths and what they mean to your workplace

synthetic drugs

Victoria health officials have uncovered a new synthetic drug cocktail possibly more potent than anything they’ve seen before. A coronial inquest last week revealed the truth behind the mysterious death of five young men between 2016 and 2017. All victims had taken an illegal drug initially thought to have been a bad ecstasy.

However, an autopsy later found it was in fact a combination of two rare synthetic substances that may have killed the young Victorians. Health officials now warn that the drug might already be making the rounds across the state.

What danger does this new drug cocktail pose on your workers? How can you prevent it from affecting your workplace?

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Drug use in Australia soars during COVID

Drug use in Australia during COVID-19

Drug use trends in Australia continue to rise despite the impact of COVID-19 and the implementation of lock down measures.

With state and federal governments adopting COVID lock down measures, many people expected that they could help curb drug abuse trends in the country. In theory, the move would severely limit people’s ability to buy and sell drugs especially on the streets.

But a new report from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) paints a drastically different picture from what was expected.

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Changing of the Guard – Drug Abuse During COVID-19

Drug abuse during COVID-19

As Australia continues to grapple with COVID-19, the country also has to deal with an ongoing drug abuse problem. The federal and state governments adopted lock-down measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They closed down all non-essential businesses including pubs and clubs, where people sometimes meet to buy and sell illicit drugs.

But instead of helping curb substance abuse, the move seems to have only caused an inconvenience to drug users. People who had a hard time buying illicit drugs merely switched from one substance for another. Some have even found more potent alternatives to the ones they were using before.

Let’s take a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is causing widespread changes in drug abuse trends in Australia.

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Is It Safe For Workers To Take Medicinal Cannabis?

Medicinal cannabis access in Queensland

Registered medical practitioners in Queensland can now prescribe medicinal cannabis to their patients if they think it’s clinically appropriate. Previously, only specialist doctors had the authority to issue such prescriptions. But a recent amendment to existing legislation effectively changed this requirement.

With more doctors allowed to issue medicinal cannabis prescription, it raises new concerns for the public. Is it safe for workers to use the drug? Will it affect their performance at work? Here’s our take on the matter.

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Addictive drugs disappear from Queensland hospitals

addictive prescription drugs missing from hospital shelves

Thousands of highly addictive medicines have been stolen from several Queensland hospitals presumably by the facilities’ own staff. In a recent ABC News article, journalist Allyson Horn brought light to a potential new drug ring in the state. Hospital workers have been stealing supplies of restricted drugs from their employers.

Among the medicines taken were highly potent opiates such as Fentanyl, Oxycodone, and Methadone. It is highly likely that these drugs will be sold on the black market.

What exactly happened? How could these workers manage to steal large amounts of controlled substances from under the employers’ noses Let’s take a closer look at what may be another brewing drug problem for the country.

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Tell-tale Symptoms of Drug Use in the Workplace

signs of drug abuse at work

As a business leader, you need to keep an eye out for signs of drug use in your workplace. But looking after the health and safety of your employees can be a real challenge. You need to have a reliable system of identifying evidence of drug abuse and how to properly address it.

Here’s our quick and simple guide on how to spot tell-tale signs of drug abuse in your workers.

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Benzodiazepines abuse continues to grow via the black market in Australia

Benzodiazepine trade via black-market in Australia

Australia has a long history of battling benzodiazepines abuse dating back to the 1970s. While the government was successful in controlling the supply of the drugs, it ultimately failed in stopping the demand. Regulatory measures only forced the drug trade underground, giving birth to a thriving and lucrative black market. Today, ‘benzos’ continue to fuel Aussies’ addiction to prescription drugs with no clear end in sight.

What exactly are benzodiazepines and how can they affect workers’ health and well-being? Our chief toxicologist Dr Phil Tynan breaks down the history and profile of these psychoactive drugs.

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