There’s been a lot of media attention lately in Western Australia on drugs. In particular, there’s the continuing attention on ICE use in this state, and given that we remain the highest users of the drug in the nation, that’s fair enough. Plus there is the added focus on the Federal Government’s plan for drug testing of Western Australia and Australia’s welfare recipients.
But with all this attention on ICE and drug testing of welfare recipients, it’s easy to forget that ICE is not the most used drug in Western Australia or the country. In fact, it still falls a long way short.
The dubious honour of the most used illegal drug goes to cannabis. It’s been used by around 10.4% of Australians over the age of 14 years in the past 12 months. Compare this with ICE (meth) and amphetamines, which has been used by around 1.4% of Australians over the age of 14 years in the past 12 months, and cannabis is streets ahead. While the use of meth and amphetamines is higher in Western Australia (it’s over 3%) it’s still way short of cannabis use.
It’s fair to say that cannabis use is so common that we’ve become a bit blasé about its side effects, but we shouldn’t.
Side effects of cannabis
- Cannabis is a mind-altering drug. It’s a depressant, which means it slows down the messages between the brain and the body.
- Short-term side effects of cannabis use can include an increased heart rate, anxiety, problems with memory and thinking, and a loss of coordination.
- Long-term impacts for regular cannabis users can include respiratory issues, increased risk of lung infections, cancers and other illnesses, and impaired memory.
- Cannabis users are six times more likely to develop schizophrenia than non-users.
- Other mental illnesses, such as bipolar and psychosis, can also be triggered by cannabis use.
- Like all drugs, there is no safe level of cannabis use.
Workplace drug testing in Western Australia
We don’t want people who are affected by cannabis to be driving cars on our roads and we certainly don’t want them in our workplaces, either. That’s why cannabis remains one of the main targets of drug testing efforts in our Western Australian workplaces.
Integrity Sampling conducts workplace drug testing in 7 key areas of WA, covering most of the higher workforce areas. Our branches in Western Australia are in Busselton, Dampier, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Perth and Port Hedland.