Staying awake on ICE in workplaces


If you’ve never tried the drug ICE, or for that matter any illicit drug, you’ve probably wondered why people use something that has significant side effects and causes so many issues. While there are many reasons why people take drugs, including ICE, one reason that is particularly pertinent to workplaces is the ability for ICE to help keep people awake.

Can ICE really help keep you awake?

The simple answer is that it can. ICE is a powerful stimulant drug, which means that it speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and the body. It works very quickly, in as little as seconds, and the effects can last up to 6 hours.

The ‘positive’ side effects of ICE are that it gives users confidence, alertness and energy, therefore helping people stay awake. However, other side effects include a need to repeat simple tasks such as scratching, enlarged pupils, dry mouth, teeth grinding, sweating, and fast heart rate and breathing. In severe cases, side effects can also include breathing problems, fits or uncontrolled jerking, agitation, confusion, clumsiness, severe headaches, unconsciousness and life threatening issues.

The other issue for people who take ICE to help them keep awake in workplaces, is that coming down from the drug can be tough. Side effects can include difficulty sleeping, exhaustion, dizziness, blurred vision, paranoia, hallucinations, confusion and irritability.

ICE not the solution

While the solution of using ICE to help keep someone awake so they can perform their job would make most of us shake our heads, even though it may seem attractive to some at the end of the day it is extremely dangerous for themselves and the community.

Take the example of long haul truck drivers. These people have received much media attention over the years due to recorded cases of drivers who have taken ICE so that they can stay awake to get their loads to their destinations more quickly.

Truck drivers are people who work around the clock, work on their own and are predominantly sedentary. In addition, they are required to not only be awake, but alert and concentrating. Getting help to stay awake from something that you can smoke, inject, swallow or snort is too tempting for some. They’d rather take ICE than ‘waste time’ sleeping on the side of the road.

But clearly, with the side effects listed above, ICE is not a drug that has any place in our workplaces. Whether that workplace is a truck or one where people work with machinery, equipment or other manual roles where safety is critical.

ICE use in workplaces, including trucks, isn’t a recent phenomenon, so why do people do it and what are the risks?

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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