Key findings from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019 have just been released and they provide an interesting insight into Australians’ use of legal and illegal drugs… And support the need for drug testing. Credit Marketeering Group https://www.flickr.com/photos/184869336@N08/48861865166/

Why is drug testing necessary?

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019

One of the common criticisms of police forces, governments and organisations like ours around Australia when it comes to drug testing is that it’s just revenue raising or that it’s picking on people unfairly. However, there is no shortage of evidence to support why roadside and workplace testing is required, including the National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

Key findings from the 2019 survey have just been released and they provide an interesting insight into Australians’ use of legal and illegal drugs. For example:

  • The survey found that 43% of Australians aged 14 and over have used an illicit drug (e.g. cannabis, heroin, ICE or cocaine) at some point in their life.
  • Around 16.4% had used an illicit drug in the 12 months leading up to the 2019 survey.
  • Cannabis is still easily the most commonly used drug, with 11.6% of Australians admitting to using the drug in the last 12 months. Next was cocaine (4.2%, ecstasy (3.0%), and painkillers and opioids used without a prescription (2.7%).
  • Worryingly, the use of cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine all rose between 2016, when the previous survey was held, and 2019. The use of cocaine was well up on the 2016 figure (2.5%) and higher in the 2019 survey than it has been for nearly 20 years.
  • The use of methamphetamines and amphetamines, including ICE dropped slightly, from 1.4% in 2016 to 1.3% in 2019.
  • It’s not all bad news, however, with fewer Australians smoking tobacco in the 2019 survey compared with 2016 and more Australians reducing their alcohol intake, largely driven by health concerns.

Drug testing all about safety

How do surveys such as these support the need for drug testing on roadsides and workplaces?

For starters, the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey clearly highlights there are plenty of Australians who are taking drugs, whether they be recreational users or people who use drugs regularly. And while it would be nice to think that these people are doing the right thing and not driving or going to work for a good length of time after taking the drugs, roadside drug testing and workplace drug testing shows this isn’t the case.

The issue with this – and it isn’t about revenue raising or unfairly picking on people – is that these people are putting themselves and others in danger. They pose a safety risk that is simply not acceptable on a public road or in a workplace where safety is important.

For example, when we look at the comment effects of cannabis (which include memory impairment, slower reflexes, increased heart rate, and mild anxiety and paranoia) are these things we want to see in drivers or employees? Clearly not, and that’s why we argue that drug testing is all about safety.

No one likes the idea of having to be involved in workplace drug testing – employers or employees.

Unfortunately, it is a fact of life in many safety sensitive workplaces that testing may have to be undertaken. Safety must be the first concern in any working environment. So, if you are involved in workplace drug testing, either as an employer or employee, there is only one thing that really counts. A correct answer is the only good answer. Correct answers lead to reliable decisions.

Hence, everyone needs to have confidence in workplace drug testing services and know that they are competent to deliver the correct answers.

Integrity conducts over 100,000 drug and alcohol screenings in Australia and New Zealand per year and are the exclusive workplace testing service provider using the Dräger Drug Test 5000 electronic oral fluid analyser. This analyser has been independently verified to comply to the requirements of drug screening devices in accordance to AS/NZS 4760:2019.

IMAGE CAPTION:

Key findings from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019 have just been released and they provide an interesting insight into Australians’ use of legal and illegal drugs… And support the need for drug testing. Credit Marketeering Group https://www.flickr.com/photos/184869336@N08/48861865166/

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Michael

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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 Thomastown 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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