Would Firing Your Employees Make Your Workplace Safe?

If your employees are engaging in drug or alcohol abuse in the workplace, you may believe that dismissal is the only way out. After all, not only is their abuse in the workplace illegal, but it can also be a safety hazard. Are there less drastic, more progressive steps which you can take before you fire your substance abusing employees? More importantly, what are some of the ways in which employee substance abuse can pose hazards to your business?

Henry H. Perritt, Jr. states that the reputation and business activity of a company must be protected, and that any activity such as an arrest of an employee can negatively affect the reputation of said business. [1] If we followed Perritt’s suggestions, this would mean that safety sensitive companies would have to fire unreliable employees even based solely upon drug testing results. Reputation is important and a bad reputation can be a risk to your business. This should be evaluated depending upon how much threat to your business brand your employees really are.

Physical danger is another aspect to consider. In a study by J. Michael Crant and Thomas S. Bateman, employee drug abuse can lead to absenteeism, stealing, illness, damage to products or production machinery and injury to oneself or to other employees. [2] It is important not only to maintain a safe working environment, but to also foster a sense of safe protection in other employees. Physical danger is not only a direct hazard, but can slow down production speed due to concern about personal safety.

Emotional stability is also a key function of a safe and productive workplace. Robert J. Johnson and Howard B. Kaplan state that any emotional or psychological impairment in a child or youth can be exacerbated and continued into adulthood through drug abuse. [3] These emotional instabilities are shown to be much more evolved and dangerous to others by the time that adulthood has been reached and the causal drugs have been regularly abused. Physical safety is not the only thing compromised in a drug abusing employee on the job. Overall happiness and a sense of production and accomplishment are virtually eliminated by the time substance abuse has been continued over several years.

Employee substance abuse can greatly affect how businesses are run, the speed of production, the safety of employees, the emotional stability of your staff, and even your overall business reputation. Employee drug testing should be made a vital part of business strength, resources and marketing plans. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Perritt, Henry H.. Employee dismissal law and practice . 2nd ed. New York: Wiley Law Publications, 1987. Print.
2. Crant, J. Michael, and Thomas Bateman. “A model of employee responses to drug testing programs.” Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, Volume 2, Number 3. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2011. http://www.springerlink.com/content/n287154j500n1376/.
3. Johnson, Robert, and Howard Kaplan. “Stability of Psychological Symptoms: Drug Use Consequences and Intervening Processes.” JSTOR. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2011. http://www.jstor.org/pss/2136892.

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When to Request a Drug Screen

Asking an employee to submit to a drug test can be a delicate matter. If done in the wrong manner, the request can come across as an accusation and the employee will immediately be put on the defensive. However, there are times when the need to screen an employee who is showing erratic behavior outweighs the possible hurt feelings that will ensue.

For this reason, many companies choose to pre-screen potential employees as a condition of employment and also use random drug testing as a way to possibly discover any potential safety threats without making anyone feel that he or she is being singled out. Requiring that all employees pass a breathalyser test before working ensures workplace safety, and also does so in a manner that is non-accusatory due to the fact that the entire workforce needs to comply with the policy. However, requiring daily drug tests is not only tedious, but it would be expensive and unnecessary.

The signs that an employee may be under the influence of any type of drug are not always obvious, but the more obvious signs should be paid attention to. Any changes in a person’s reaction time, mood and general ability to make decisions could indicate a possibility that the person is under the influence of some substance. However, the person could also be fatigued, going through personal issues at home or be dealing with another health issue. Good communication is instrumental in finding out more information that could rule out drugs as the issue at hand.

If an employee is repeatedly showing possible symptoms of substance misuse or abuse however, it would then be a good time to ask them to submit to a drug screen. Try not to use an accusatory tone when requesting the test and approach it from the standpoint of concern for that person’s well-being as well as that of the rest of the workforce. Simply telling the employee that you want to rule drugs out as a possibility and assuring him or her of the confidentiality of the test will help to ease his or her mind in the instance that drugs are not the issue.

Whether drugs are the cause of an employee’s sudden change in performance or not, be sure to pay attention to any person’s irregular behavior that can endanger other workers. The issue may not always be related to substance abuse, but there are times when it not a bad thing to try to eliminate it as a possibility. Requesting a drug screen in the proper situation could save another person’s life.

For more information about what CMM products can do for you, send inquires to info@cmm.au or contact us at +618-9204-2500.

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Substance Abuse and Hair Loss

Substance abuse makes its presence known in many ways. Individuals who abuse amphetamines develop “meth mouth.” Alcoholism brings on premature aging and leathering of the skin. A variety of drug and alcohol abuse is seen through hair loss. Drug abuse in particular connected with hair loss, because it is the most effective in causing iron deficiency in the body. Iron deficiency is directly related to overall hair loss, both temporary and long-term.

In a study concerning iron deficiency among drug users, it was determined that anemia is directly associated with the progression of an HIV infection. In addition to this, it was found that iron deficiency is also prevalent in intravenous drug users, whether or not they are HIV-positive. Among female intravenous drug users, iron deficiency was the cause of half of the anemia found in 197 test subjects. Although drug users who are infected with both HIV and Hepatitis C viruses are warned to not take iron supplementation due to possible increased progression of the disease, iron supplements are generally recommended for individuals who have anemia.

Drug and alcohol abuse is conducive to improper nutrition in the body, since substance abusers are less likely to take in a variety of healthy, nutritional food. This lack of nutrition can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the body, including iron deficiency, which is very common.

Trost, Bergfeld and Calogeras confirm that iron deficiency is directly associated with developmental delay in children, lowered intellect, and decreased resistance to disease. In addition to this, several studies have proved iron deficiency is related to hair loss. Trost, Bergfeld and Calogras strongly recommend finding the source of the deficiency and correcting it immediately. Differences between men and women are also common. Iron deficiency found in men and postmenopausal women is frequently the result of blood loss, but is more common in menstruating women and can be a result of a variety of factors.

An unreasonable amount of hair loss and hair loss among women can be a result of a drug-induced anemia. Regularly scheduled drug and alcohol testing is important to ensure that proper treatment is given to your employees and family members, and that deficiencies are corrected. Mineral deficiencies can be particularly difficult to correct in diet alone, since most food only contains vitamins. Responsibility and the appropriate care of individuals under your guardianship are important. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. “High Prevalence of Iron Deficiency and Anemia Among Female Injection Drug Users With and Without HIV Infection.” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2011. http://journals.lww.com/jaids/Abstract/2002/02010/High_Prevalence_of_Iron_Deficiency_and_Anemia.5.aspx.
2. Trost, Leonid, Wilma Bergfeld, and Ellen Calogeras. “The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss.” JAAD – Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2011. http://www.eblue.org/article/S0190-9622%2805%2904745-6/abstract.

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Taking Steps to Ensure Your Alcohol and Drug Testing Policy is Not Biased

Providing a safe working environment for all employees is the “duty of care” an employer bears as a major responsibility. A major step that can be taken to protect employees from harm is instituting a program of random drug and alcohol testing as one component of a mandatory drug testing policy. Random testing can play an important role in creating a business culture that discourages the use of drugs or alcohol, but the testing policy needs to follow certain guidelines to insure the testing accomplishes its goals and is unable to be used for employee harassment.

How can random testing go awry? Unfortunately an employer can call a drug and alcohol testing program random when in fact employees are not randomly selected. An errant supervisor can use drug testing in a discriminatory manner unless there are clear policies and procedures that keep employee selection truly random. Random testing is in addition to incident and causal testing.

A random testing policy should have the following features to minimise the possibility of bias.

1. The random pool of employees must include all employees without regard to title. In other words, a successful policy will apply equally to all staff.1 This means that executives, managers, supervisors, volunteers, line workers and all other employees are included in the selection pool.

2. At a minimum, the random testing pool of employees will be composed of employees chosen by job function. The job functions selected are those that are specified as safety sensitivity in that an impaired employee presents a particular health and occupational hazard during job performance. For example, miners, drivers or heavy equipment operators would be randomly tested.

3. A random drug and alcohol testing program should include the organisational decision makers in the pool of candidates without regard to title to insure there is no appearance of bias.

4. The organisation can establish a percentage of employees in the pool to be tested during each designated time period.

5. The employer can establish a blanket drug and alcohol testing program in addition to the random testing program so that all employees are tested at some point during the year. This not only gives the employer the right to test but also eliminates a perception of discrimination in determining fitness for work.

The employer needs to test for drug and alcohol use in the workplace to insure worker safety, but this need must be balanced against the desire to preserve employee privacy and dignity. That is a balance that is not always easy to establish.

Workplace drug testing using products like the Medix Integrated Pro-Split Cup or the Alcohol Breath Analyser make random testing programs affordable and easy to manage. Many organizations like the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of the Australian Government recommend blanket testing as “good practice” and more effective than testing only employees performing safety sensitive job functions.2

CMM Technology at http://cmm.com.au/index.php can assist in the selection of the best drug and alcohol testing products for use in your company’s testing program whether it’s blanket testing, random testing or both.

References

1 DeKort, P. M. (2010). How to Implement a Drug and Alcohol Program in the Workplace (Presentation). Retrieved February 16, 2011, from Safe Work SA: http://www.safework.sa.gov.au/sw2010/presentations/WorkplaceDrug.pdf

2 Civil Aviation Safety Authority. (2011). Instructions for the Use of the Drug and Alcohol Managament Plan (DAMP) Template. Retrieved February 15, 2011, from Australian Government Cival Aviation Safety Authority: http://casa.gov.au/wcmswr/aod/docs/damp_template_instruction_document.pdf

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Unusual Recurrence of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse can recur in unusual circumstances. Drug and alcohol toxicity can still remain in the body, even after withdrawal symptoms are complete. This old residue is then circulated back through the system, causing a recurrence of drunkenness or endorphin stimulation. Physical storage of the toxicity is not strong enough to have a noticeable effect on the body, but various types of stimulation can bring the abusive substance back out into the blood stream.

Fat Melting. Fat cells store both nutrition and toxins in the body. When an individual loses weight, fat cells can release previously stored toxins into the bloodstream. If these toxins are abusive substances, such as drugs, the effect can be identical to the original ingestion or injection. In a study on marijuana and changes in weight, it was determined that marijuana use and weight gain in humans was positively correlated: the marijuana the test subjects smoked, the more they ate and the more weight they gained. [1] Water retention was not found to be applicable.

Ion Cleanse. The Ion Cleanse (both the trademarked version and similarly-constructed rip-offs) is a unit which releases ions into a footbath of water and pulls chemical debris from the bloodstream and out into the bath. [2] Users describe the water as becoming very muddy and thick, and usually a stench from the pulled toxins increases over time. Since the Ion Cleanse pulls microscopic flakes of pollution from the walls of veins and arteries, individuals who have abused illicit drugs in the past find that the original reaction begins occurring in their bodies during their time in the Ion Cleanse and sometimes up to one or two hours after the end of treatment. This is due to small particles of the drug being circulated through their system a second time before they are pulled out.

It has also been found that legal drugs have a similar effect. Individuals who have had multiple surgeries may, after repeated use of the Ion Cleanse, reach a layer of anesthesia particles. Throughout the day, without feeling at all sleepy, they may suddenly drop off. In addition to this, the smell of the anesthesia and the drug itself may sweat out of their skin.

Injury. Stephen Linsteadt, N.H.D. and Jorge Llamas, M.D. describe how toxin storage in various cells is released upon damaged tissues in cell injury. [3] The body can collect and isolate toxic material in pockets within the system to be later eliminated through the bowels and the skin. When an injury, such as a fall or wrenching of the limbs, occurs, the stored toxicity and inflammation can be released and spread through the body. Endorphins increase the heart rate and allow these materials to spread more quickly than otherwise.
These are unusual situations where substance abuse can be reintroduced to the body. Not everyone will find these circumstances to bring back the “high” from previous abuse. Keep yourself and loved ones safe with regular screenings to gauge current levels of toxicity. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Greenberg, Isaac, John Kuehnle, Jack Mendelson, and Jerrold Bernstein. “Effects of marijuana use on body weight and caloric intake in humans.” SpringerLink – Psychopharmacology, Volume 49, Number 1. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2011. http://www.springerlink.com/content/g0785m7526h2922x/.
2. Walker, Morton, and Randall Walker. “IonCleanse Detoxification – Getting the Issues out of Tissues.” Medical Journalistic Report of Innovative Biologics. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2011. http://www.amajordifference.com/UserFiles/File/IonCleanse_Article_Reprint.pdf.
3. Linsteadt, Stephen , and Jorge Llamas. “Using Quantum Medicine to Unravel Stressors That Provoke Carcinogenesis.” Center for Music Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2011. http://www.centerformusicmedicine.org/pdfs-music-medicine-therapy/Using_Quantum_Medicine.pdf.

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Saliva Testing and the Ability to Detect Recent Drug Abuse

Saliva drug testing presents several clear advantages over other traditional drug testing methods but also has its disadvantages. Whether or not to use saliva drug tests instead of urine testing depends on the situation and what it is you are looking to find. While urine testing still out performs saliva drug tests in revealing a person’s history of drug abuse, saliva testing is a great way to determine whether or not the drug abuse is recent.

If the purpose of the test is to establish a history of drug use, urine drug tests work well because they detect the metabolites that are released into a person’s system after he or she has taken any given drug. Depending on the frequency of drug use, these metabolites can remain in a person’s system possibly for months, making it possible to some degree, for a urine test to reveal the past history of drug abuse. While able to prove that someone used drugs, urine tests are unable to indicate how recent the drugs were used.
Saliva tests generally detect the parent drug, revealing recent substance abuse while not being able to establish a history. Depending on several factors such as drug potency, quantity consumed, metabolic rate, etc., drugs remain detectable by saliva drug tests for generally one to three days. This becomes especially useful if you want to test an employee who is involved in a workplace incident to determine whether or not drugs and alcohol were possibly involved.

Other benefits of saliva drug testing include convenience as well due to the less intrusive nature of the test. Saliva tests are much easier to perform and are more difficult to tamper with due to the fact that the person undergoing the test is under constant supervision. There is no need to make the employee undergo all of the security precautions that are typical of urine testing when administering a saliva test. Due to the nature of saliva drug testing, it is much better employed as a method to determine whether or not a person is currently under the influence rather than to indicate repeated drug use. While urine testing functions perfectly for screening a potential employee for past drug use, saliva tests are easier and more convenient for use on the job in the event of an accident. Be sure to consider the benefits of saliva drug tests when you evaluate your company’s drug and alcohol testing policy.

To find out more about CMM Technology’s drug testing products, please contact us at +618-9204-2500 or email us at info@cmm.com.au.

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How Likely are You to be Affected by Your Employees’ Substance Abuse?

In a prolonged study performed by Garman, Leech and Grable, three major problems in an employee’s life can cause their employer a great deal of money and lower their productivity to less than 50% of their previous performance. These three problems are: Substance abuse, marital problems and poor financial management. Yes, that’s right. Your employees can affect you this way.

Substance abuse not only affects the user, but also the people directly involved in the user’s life. Garman, Leech and Grable describe, through a complete and thorough methodology, how negative work variables are not only caused by stress but also induce higher stress, as well. [1] These variables include, but are not limited to, family problems, absenteeism, drug abuse, alcoholism, gambling, threat of on-the-job injury, poor financial management and threat of job loss. All of these factors are catalysts in unsafe and unproductive working environments, both being the result and causing of  job related stress. The study describes how the workplace, which should be an efficient and smoothly operating machine, can become a hotbed of negative personal, professional and financial habits due to the collaborative behavior of your staff. In other words, if they start handling their finances badly, you are 50% more likely to do the same. If they start engaging in irresponsible drug abuse in the workplace, you are 50% more likely to be influenced and follow in their footsteps. The same thing applies to alcoholism, gambling and irresponsible safety procedures.

Robert Cialdini describes an interesting phenomenon in psychology concerning influence. [2] Once an individual has taken a stand concerning an issue and has made their commitment known to the public, they are far more likely to find ways to support their decision or commitment and feel much more confident about their choice. For example, punters at the racetrack feel significantly more confident about the winning chances of their chosen horse after they place a bet, as opposed to how they feel before they place the bet. Now that they have committed to a choice, any internal or external evidence which can be found to support this decision is immediately on the forefront of their minds. If you refuse to test your employees for alcohol and drugs and decide to “let it slide,” you are condoning their behavior not only within their environment, but also within your own mind. In order to justify your own behavior, your mind will begin to think of drug and alcohol abuse as “not that important” and “not very dangerous.”

Take a stand for the sake of your staff and the sake of your own personal choices. Have all of your employees tested for drugs and alcohol on a regular basis. Otherwise, you might find excuses to condone their choices and make them part of your own behavior. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Garman, E. Thomas, Irene Leech, and John Grable. “The Negative Impact Of Employee Poor Personal Financial Behaviors on Employers.” Virginia Tech. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2011. http://creditojusto.org/files/48.pdf.

2. Cialdini, Robert B.. Influence: the psychology of persuasion. Rev. ed. ; 1st Collins business essentials ed. New York: Collins, 2007. Print.

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What Does it Mean when One of Your Employees Begins to Withdraw from Their Environment?

Whether or not your employee is outgoing or introverted, if they begin to withdraw from their environment, it could mean that they are abusing alcohol or drugs. Does this occur in every situation? Not necessarily, but withdrawing can also signal depression or anxiety or feelings of hopelessness. It is important to recognise these signs before they become an issue in the workplace.

What are some withdrawal symptoms to watch out for?

  • Moodiness or brooding behavior. This can exhibit as prolonged thoughtfulness, passive aggressive behavior, lethargy or apathy.
  • Sudden quietness or silence. Even introverted employees talk occasionally, but sudden blanket silence can indicate withdrawal from their surroundings.
  • Separation from others. This can exhibit as eating alone, working alone, declining all invitations to commune with co-workers, not forming long-term bonds with co-workers, or not participating in group discussions or activities. This can also exhibit as showing up early to work or staying late at the office, both of which involve plenty of alone time.
  • Isolation language. Someone displaying somewhat severe social withdrawal will cease to use personal identification statements, such as “I think,” or “I believe.” They will be more likely to use gender neutral, third person forms of discourse, thus distancing themselves from any situation or “verbal” human contact.
  • Seeming tiredness or apathy. Hopelessness and specific types of drug abuse exhibit as constant weariness and physical listlessness. Increasingly slow productivity and excuses for absence from the job are more measurable forms of apathy.

These symptoms are, of course, more relevant if your employee has used differing behavior in the past. If this is their standard behavior from the beginning of employment, they may have anti-social characteristics which developed during their childhood.[1]

Testing your employees for drugs and alcohol can help to eliminate anti-social behavior and substance abuse in the work environment. This is especially important because employees who are abusing are much more motivated to stop when regular testing is incorporated in the business. In a study concerning anti-social drug abusers, it was determined that testing and treatment not only improved the level of drug use, but that it also had a strong, positive effect upon the level of anti-social behavior.[2]

Not only may employees who withdraw from their environment be abusing substances, but their behavior may have a negative or depressing effect upon their co-workers. This means that not only is their own behavior slowing down production and service, but it is affecting the efficiency of others as well. Regular testing and evaluation can significantly improve your staffs’ sense of wellbeing as a whole, and not simply individual employees.

1. Robins, Lee . “Psychological Medicine.” Cambridge Journals. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2010. www.journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=5034292.

2. “ScienceDirect – Drug and Alcohol Dependence : Preliminary evidence of good treatment response in antisocial drug abusers1.” ScienceDirect – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2010. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T63-3T11V9T-8&_user=10&_coverDate=02%2F01%2F1998&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1606594888&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=e5f506698c27ae2af1a3061ceac10113&searchtype=a

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Businesses Deal With Drug Adulteration

On-site urine drug testing has made workplace drug testing much more convenient, but the actual drug tests themselves have also improved over the years in their ability to detect the seemingly endless variety of drugs.  The street drugs being manufactured nowadays are more and more powerful and some have become more difficult to detect if the person is not tested within several hours of substance use. In a company with random drug testing the employees do not know when they will be tested, and so they sometimes take the precaution of ingesting other substances in an attempt to hide the drug use. Employee drug adulteration using masking and water loading are attempts to ‘trick’ the urine drug test into reporting a false-negative.

Simply defined, drug adulteration is the ingestion of a substance that is intended to cover up the presence of a drug in a person’s system so the drug test is defeated.

Substance abusers using water loading strategies are hoping to dilute urine to the point where the drug becomes undetectable by standard drug tests. The theory is that if you drink enough water, the concentration of the drug in the urine will fall below the cut-off level for drug screening.  The water is also meant to flush the metabolites out of the system. One issue with water loading to keep in mind is that Australian employees working in the hottest climates will drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration, and this needs to be taken into account.

The types of chemicals and materials ingested by substance abusers as adulterants  to mask drug use are surprising. They include table salt, toilet bowl cleaner, lemon juice, eye drops, laundry detergent, vinegar, hand soap and others. There are also nitrate containing products sold like Stealth, Urine Luck and Instant Clean, to name a few, that claim to mask drugs. Substance abusers can even buy synthetic urine on the internet to beat a drug test1. With substance abusers willing to risk their lives twice – once with illegal drugs and once with adulteration/masking agents – is it possible to rely on drug tests?

Two successful responses to the use of adulterants has been to lower cutoff values (in relation the rest of the world) which Australian standards have already implemented and using products able to test for common masking chemicals. In fact, Standards Australia reviews published standards periodically as a matter of policy due to changes in “technology, knowledge and community needs.”2 That is just one reason why it’s important to use drug testing equipment that meets the standards. The workplace drug testing product you use should be able to detect the commonly ingested commercial and over-the-counter chemicals used for masking urine samples.

Drug abuse is a secretive behavior that leads to additional desperate actions to cover up the behavior. Staying ahead of the street tricks that drug users share with each other is much easier when you rely on state-of-the-art drug tests designed to unmask coverups. Using adulterant tests along with workplace drug tests is the most effective approach to detecting employee drug use and/or potential adulteration of the test. For example, the Medix Pro-Split 6+6 Cup tests for 6 common drugs of abuse and 6 adulterants.

You can contact CMM Technology on +618-9204-2500 to learn more about drug testing and the use of adulterants.

References:

1 Dasgupta, A. (2007). The Effects of Adulterants and Selected Ingested Compounds on Drugs-of-Abuse Testing. American Society for Clinical Pathology , 491-503.

2 Principles of Standardisation. (2011, January). Retrieved January 29, 2011, from Standards Australia: http://www.standards.org.au/DevelopingStandards/Developmentphases.aspx

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Signs of Ecstasy Addiction

The psycho-stimulant drug, commonly known as Ecstasy, is also known under other names, such as MDMA, E, or X. MDMA is an acronym for 3- or 4- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine and, as you can see in the scientific name itself, it is an amphetamine. Though Ecstasy is used, in rare cases for therapeutic benefits, [1] it is illegal in many countries due to recreational drug abuse. [2] MDMA induces feelings of safety, euphoria, intimacy, and reduces feelings of depression, anxiety or paranoia.

During use, Ecstasy abuse can be measured by behavioral changes, such as an unwillingness to pick a fight, happy or trance like state, and the absence of fear or anxiety in high stress or dangerous situations. In the workplace, someone who normally stresses out, even to a slight degree, is temperamental, or is very aware of physical danger may be abusing Ecstasy if these specific temperaments change in a happier, more positive or less afraid direction.

After abuse is terminated, withdrawal symptoms are much more noticeable. [3] Anxiety and heightened paranoia are two of the more major psychological side effects, but there are more. Sudden tiredness, irritability, intolerance, and prolonged depression can also occur. The ability to focus or pay attention is strongly impaired. The lack of willingness to work or be motivated or internally driven is a usual withdrawal symptom of Ecstasy, since the serotonin levels have dropped. Depression is also due to depleted serotonin levels, which means that suddenly emotionally burdening someone who has just stopped using Ecstasy can be more than they can handle, and might even bring on a physical danger to both you and them. In short, abusers may not be as dangerous during direct drug abuse, but they will become increasingly dangerous to you and others if they are denied their drug. [4]

Extreme exhaustion is more likely during withdrawal from Ecstasy if there is also slight aching in the body, vertigo when moving or a severe loss of appetite.

Due to the over-stimulation of the “feel-good” serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain, withdrawing from Ecstasy can also induce long-term or chronic depression if the serotonin levels do not regain normal function later on. [2]

Hallucinations are more common with MDMA than with other amphetamines, as well as nausea, higher blood pressure and body temperature. Vision can also become blurred and muscles are more likely to cramp. [3]

If you would like help in determining Ecstasy abuse, contact CMM Technology at: +618-9204-2500 or fax us at: +618-9204-2522.

1. Turner, Amy . ” Ecstasy is the key to treating PTSD – Times Online .” The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article3850302.ece.

2. Dillon, Paul. “10 years of ecstasy and other party drug use in Australia.” DrugText.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. http://www.drugtext.org/library/articles/dillon.htm.

3.  “Synthesis and Cytotoxic Profile of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy”) and Its Metabolites on Undifferentiated PC12 Cells:  A Putative Structure−Toxicity Relationship – Chemical Research in Toxicology (ACS Publications) .” ACS Publications. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx060123i.

4.  “ScienceDirect – European Journal of Pharmacology : Effects of methylenedioxymethamphetamine on the release of monoamines from rat brain slices.” ScienceDirect – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T1J-474WYMX-3V&_user=10&_coverDate=11%2F27%2F1990&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=d48035f2d5654b4d.

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The Effects of Alcohol in the Workplace

According to the Australian Medical Association, alcohol was the second highest contributing factor of disease and injury to Australian males under the age of 45 in 20031. Almost one in ten adults drinks alcohol on a daily basis, presenting a possible liability in the workplace. While the legal implications are obvious, the effects of alcohol and other substance abuse on the workforce extend beyond legal responsibility.

Alcohol and drugs are known to contribute to a higher rate of absenteeism in the workplace as well as the time required for workers to recover from alcohol and drug related accidents. The cost of these accidents is weighted by the loss of productivity as well as worker’s compensation claims and becomes extremely expensive. In 1988 and 1989 in the Northern Territory alone, alcohol caused an estimated industry wide $61.94 million in lost productivity when time off and worker’s compensation were taken into account2.

Without even considering the legal implications of not having a drug and alcohol testing policy in place, it is evident that alcohol abuse alone is a threat to productivity and the lives of employees. Alcohol contributes to 16% of all drug related deaths in Australia2. Considering the fact that almost one in ten men in Australia drinks on a daily basis and one in seven drinks excessively at least one time per week1, investing in an alcohol and drug testing policy can pay for itself when you weigh the possible costs your company may face without one.

Alcohol related accidents in the workplace also provide possible legal troubles that vary, depending on local regulations. Fines for failure to take measures to prevent possible workplace accidents can result in substantial fines and costly settlements for the families of an employee who has been harmed as the result of a drug or alcohol related incident. When you examine the cost of litigation; both on your time as well as the harm to productivity, it is much more cost effective to invest in a drug and alcohol testing policy so that you are able to protect your company as well as your employees. Keeping your workers healthy and safe will go a long way to reaping the rewards of an effective drug and alcohol testing strategy.

To find out more about CMM Technology’s drug testing products and how we can protect your employees and company, please contact us at +618-9204-2500 or email us at info@cmm.com.au .

References

1 http://ama.com.au/node/4762

2 http://www.nt.gov.au/health/healthdev/health_promotion/bushbook/volume2/chap1/problems.htm

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Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Which is Stronger, Chemical Reactions or Willpower?

For many decades, substance abusers have been touted as having little to no strength or character to resist their abusive behavior. Although this may be true, it is interesting that substance abuse is judged by a standard of “morality” rather than by a standard of chemical reactions. The resulting chemical activity of drug and alcohol abuse within the mind and body is extremely strong and powerful and not easily conquered. In fact, medium- to long-term substance abuse changes habitual thought processes onto a track of mental “escaping.” Rather than seeing life’s challenges as an opportunity for increasing success, substance abusers essentially hide from these stress factors, even small issues which would barely be noticed in everyday life, and escape using their drug of choice.

In a paper written by Antoine Bechara, he describes the brain as using two neural systems to control decision making: The short-term amygdala system which controls immediate pleasurable and painful responses, and the long-term prefrontal cortex system which controls reflective and controlled opinions concerning future outcomes. [1] Bechara describes hyperactivity in the short-term reactive system to have the ability to override the long-term reflective system. This means that when drugs or alcohol over-stimulate the pleasure receptors in the brain, this reaction can disturb responsible long-term planning and decision making. If these pleasure receptors are over-stimulated for a long and consistent period of time, the unused reflective planning and cognition begins to suffer for longer periods of time.

Conversely, Nina Wallerstein, M.P.H, Ph.D. and Edward Bernstein, M.D. performed a three-part study on the positive results of empowering an individual’s mental stability and what the long-term effects were of receiving positive group and community reinforcement. [2] First, the study describes how empowerment is linked with health (just as powerlessness is linked with disease and mental disorders). Then, a thorough examination of Paulo Freire’s empowering education theory and lastly, a case study of how empowerment is successfully used in preventing and treating substance abuse. The case study demonstrates how important it is for an individual to have a feeling of control over their own lives and over their place in their community. This is similar to Dr. William Glasser’s Choice Theory, in which he describes how positive and cogent relationships in an individual’s life contributes more to their happiness level than any other factor, such as money, success, or status. [3]

Drug and alcohol testing can prevent small, manageable habits from becoming large, uncontrollable habits. Whether it is implemented at the workplace or at home, testing is used in order to encourage members of society to hold each accountable and to keep their circles of influence safe. Contact CMM Technology today and discuss how they can help you in this process: +618-9204-2500.

1. Bechara, Antoine. “Decision making, impulse control and loss of willpower to resist drugs: a neurocognitive perspective : Nature Neuroscience.” Nature Publishing Group . N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2011. http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v8/n11/full/nn1584.html.

2. Wallerstein, Nina, and Edward Bernstein. “Empowerment Education: Freire’s Ideas Adapted to Health Education.” Health Education & Behavior . N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2011. http://heb.sagepub.com/content/15/4/379.abstract.

3. Glasser, William . Choice Theory. New York, NY : Harpercollins Publishers, Inc., 1998. Print.

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