At the end of July, Business SA released a report called The Ice Age about methamphetamine use in the workplace.
Substance Misuse Limestone Coast has responded that while it welcomes the report, it disagrees with the report’s assertion of an “epidemic”.
“Everyone should be concerned about the impact of alcohol and drugs in our community,” project officer for Substance Misuse Limestone Coast Sophie Bourchier said.
“The positive test statistic of 2.2% is concerning, however Substance Misuse Limestone Coast does not believe that 2.2% of the workforce testing positive constitutes an epidemic.”
In The Ice Age these figures were highlighted as being of epidemic proportions due to the number of positive drug tests being only 1.9% in 2017.
2.2% of workers equals close to 5000 workers in the state of South Australia working under the influence of ice in safety-sensitive industries such as mining, construction, agriculture, transport, and utility services.
The Ice Age has recommended that businesses take more care in testing their employees, and create more education and awareness about the issue, which Substance Misuse Limestone Coast agrees with.
“Workplaces have a duty of care to their employees in keeping them safe and Substance Misuse Limestone Coast supports and welcomes Business SA’s recommendation that businesses create a workplace drugs policy,” Ms Bourchier said.
“They can also undertake training for staff, supervisors and managers on the short- and long-term harms associated with all substance use, and the specific effects that are particular to workplaces when someone is misusing.
“Training should also include how to support the workforce around any addiction and mental health issues.”
Another issue is that workers may not be aware of how long the drug stays in their system.
“Crystal methamphetamine is a purer form of amphetamine, giving stronger and longer lasting effects. Because of this it also has more potent and serious side effects and can take one to two days to entirely leave the body,” Ms Bourchier explained.
“Using any drug and particularly crystal methamphetamine can put workers and their colleagues at increased risk of harm when in the workplace.
“People may not know they are still under the influence of the drug for up to 48 hours after using, and if they are using on the weekend or during the week, then turning up to work with less sleep than normal, they should not be at work.
“The same applies to alcohol and any other drug that is used by individual workers.”
More information about how to manage the issue of ice in regional communities can be found in two upcoming workshops in Naracoorte.
On August 8, Naracoorte Connect will be holding a meeting at 5pm at the Church of Christ which includes planning for a proposed family drug support workshop.
Naracoorte Connect is a community group providing education, information and support for people affected by drug and alcohol abuse, mental health problems, suicide, or related issues.
It grew from the Ice Forums, and seeks input from the Limestone Coast community to clarify what services are needed.
All are welcome to contribute ideas or requests, and a light supper will be provided.
For further information about this event please contact Sean on 0487 696 915 Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
On August 20 there will be another free public seminar about ice, ‘The Ice Update’, a community information forum sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Naracoorte, Mount Gambier, Mount Gambier West and Bordertown.
This event will be in the Naracoorte Town Hall at 7pm, and will feature video footage of the first Ice Update in Mount Gambier, as well as a Q & A session with a panel of experts.
More information about this event can be found via the Limestone Coast Police Crime Prevention section – 8735 1047.
Substance Misuse Limestone Coast also supports community education programs that deliver the messages of harms that alcohol and drugs can play for communities, families, individuals and workplaces.
If anyone is concerned about another’s drug use, please call ADIS – 1300 131 340
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