Testing by Integrity Sampling has shown an alarming increase in positive codeine tests in the workplace.
The attached graph shows positive codeine results climbing during the winter months for the past 3 years. Winter is the time when positive codeine results are more likely to occur, as people take codeine to fight-off the effects of a cold or flu. While generally not an issue if taken at the correct dosage, codeine is an issue if taken above the recommend dosage (see a recent post by Integrity Sampling).
The positive codeine results are – dare we say it – a major headache for the management of workplaces. While the failure of a random drug test for codeine can often by explained by an employee, what is a greater concern is the increased safety risk. Codeine is derived from opium, the same as heroin, and the side effects for codeine are very similar as heroin. They include drowsiness, tiredness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea and erratic behaviour.
Understandably, workers who are suffering from these types of side effects are in no condition to drive vehicles, work around machinery or do other manual work.