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One in 10 employees absent or affected by drugs at work

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Ten per cent of Australian employees have gone to work while still under the effect of, or feeling the after-effects, of drug use.

According to new research by the Australian Drug Foundation, employees’ use of drugs also costs the economy $6 billion a year in lost productivity or absenteeism.

The study of 1,000 employees in the state of Victoria between the ages of 18 and 55, found:

  • 10% of employees had either taken a day off and/or gone to work feeling the effects of their drug use
  • 20% of 18-29 year olds had used cannabis in the last 12 months
  • 7% of workers admitted to having been under the influence of drugs while carrying out their jobs
  • 6% had taken a day off work to recover from drug use

In the study, drugs were identified as illegal drugs, synthetic drugs and un-prescribed pharmaceutical medications.

“Feeling the after effects of weekend drug use can be just as problematic as being intoxicated on the job,” said Phillip Collins, the head of workplace services at the Australia Drugs Foundation.

“Headaches, blurred vision, irritability, difficulty concentrating and extreme tiredness can all create organisational problems.

“Drugs and alcohol cost Australian businesses $6 billion a year in lost productivity and absenteeism alone. Then there’s the serious health and safety risks in the workplace, particularly where employees operate machinery or drive vehicles.”

While Collins agrees some workplaces should conduct mandatory drugs testing, there’s no need for all employers to rush to do this.

“Drug testing isn’t the only solution, and simply will not work when delivered in isolation. All businesses need a formal workplace policy in conjunction with education, training and support programs.”

Image: Shutterstock

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