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The Truth About Drug Abuse In White Collar Professions

truth about drug abuse white collar professions

When thinking of a drug addict, most people picture someone lowly educated and living off crime. However, in Australia, the profile of a drug abuser challenges these stereotypes.

In our country, drug abuse is a problem not exclusive to unemployed or low skilled workers. In fact, there is one sector that is contributing to Australia’s steadily growing drug problem — the white collar professionals. The typical drug user in Australia is a professional with tertiary education.

A report by the National Drug Strategy Household Survey confirms this: a majority of cocaine users are between the ages of 20-39, educated, employed, and living in major cities. In addition, they also belong to the highest socioeconomic status. As Will Tregoning — founder of a non-profit organisation committed to challenging current drug policies — once said: “A lot of wealthy people take drugs.”

Read on to find out the incredible truth about drug abuse in white-collar professions in Australia.

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The MDMA Drug and Its Impact on the Australian Workplace

mdma durg workplace australia

MDMA use is on the rise in Australia. In a shocking statement, even NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann recently came out about her own experience using drugs.

In her own words: “I’ve occasionally taken MDMA at dance parties and music festivals. I know journalists, tradies, lawyers, public servants, doctors, police and yes, politicians (most well into their forties), who have done the same.”

If Australians in high and respectable positions have taken MDMA — can you be sure that someone in your staff is not an MDMA user?

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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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