Employee Management: When to Fire and When to Require Rehabilitation

As efficient as it may seem to fire employees who are engaging in substance abuse, especially in a weak job market where plenty of potential employees are available, it is actually more expensive and costs your company more resources.

In a book by Walter F. Scanlon, he describes the social acceptance and rejection of EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs), which help employees with problems causing poor job performance. These programs include help with drug addiction, alcohol addiction and temporary setbacks.

Scanlon describes how labour unions are likely to view EAPs with suspicion and distrust because of the system already in place to settle disagreements: the management-labor union bargaining table. Employee assistance programs can look like a way around this bargaining table; a resource which management can use to circumvent accountability to the union. [1]

However, EAPs have been found useful in delivering consistent productivity and goal achievement within the company. Is there a difference between internal and external EAPs?

Yes. Scanlon says that in-house assistance programs are far more cost-effective than external programs. The cost per employee can be reduced to less than $100 per employee. This model only is applicable if the company is in one location and the company culture fits the requirements of the model. In other circumstances, the employee program would be better suited if it is contracted out to an outside provider who handles problem resolution and cost containment. [1]

Now, the question arises of when to fire and when to require rehabilitation. Since 1, Company costs are reduced by using an employee assistance program and 2, the program must be custom fitted to the needs and ergonomics of the company location, using an employee program seems to be the better choice when dealing with initial offenders. However, employees who need help with their job productivity and refuse to exploit the benefits of such a program may be too far gone to remain a liability to the company. Many people would rather alter, or at least work to improve, their behavior before losing their income. If this is not the case, you may need to begin looking for a replacement. [1]

It is important to employ quality drug and alcohol testing services within your business, and it is especially important to use excellent testing equipment. CMM Technology offers saliva and urine drug testing equipment and alcohol testing equipment. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Scanlon, Walter F.. Alcoholism and drug abuse in the workplace: managing care and costs through employee assistance programs. 2nd ed. New York: Praeger, 1991. Print.

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How to React to Recurring Substance Abuse in the Workplace

The workplace environment requires complete and total accountability with regard to regular, everyday office duties. Unfortunately, this accountability is not only applicable to one’s professional life, but also to one’s private life. As much as we would all enjoy actually separating our professional and private lives, the truth is that this is not really possible. Divorce can make someone collapse at the office from emotional exhaustion, and a high-powered career may need to be brought home in the evenings in order to be completed that day. Recurring drug or alcohol abuse in the workplace is not only a problem in your private life; it’s a problem for your entire company.

A report by Jiang Yu and William Williford talks about the progression and continuance of substance abuse, specifically alcohol and marijuana abuse, within your working life. The gateway theory is used in multiples, theorizing that not only can alcohol and light doses of marijuana be gateway substances to hard drug abuse, but also that early onset, emotional debilitation and life trauma can also be contributing risk factors. In fact, these circumstances can rapidly increase progression to hard drug abuse because the inability to achieve or the need for emotional growth are strengthened by the poor development. [1]

Denise Kandel attributed stages of drug progression to the need for all forms of emotional, biological, social and environmental support (which particularly happens in adolescence and poorly formed adulthood). When one or more of these socially necessary pieces of the pie are unfulfilled, psycho-stimulating or psycho-calming support from abusive substances can help to “cushion” the human lack. It is precisely this filling of a human need which almost necessarily pushes the individual to use, abuse and become hooked, in many cases for life. [2]

Recurring abuse on the jobsite is to be expected from employees who have abused in the past. What can you do about this?

Help your employees to feel emotionally, psychologically, physically and communally supported through the use of effective human resources and PR departments. If the job does not already involve physical exercise, consider forming a sports team and competing with other companies. Organize business parties and community events which incorporate enjoyable team building activities.

A strong sense of community is one of the greatest factors in developing social responsibility and personal accountability. Think of it this way: if there is no one who sees or cares about the abuse, then there is no one to look to as an example. Employee support does not just involve good role modeling, but also forming personal, interesting connections between management and staff. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Yu, Jiang, and William Williford. “Substance Use & Misuse .” Informa Healthcare. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2011. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10826089209047353.

2. Kandel, Denise B.. Stages and pathways of drug involvement: examining the gateway hypothesis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.

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Small Business Success: How to Weed Out the Substance Abusers

Small businesses are more prone to business failure in the first five years than larger corporations. Why is this so? There are many reasons why this is the case. A lot of small business owners “have an idea” and begin the operation, without making any long-term commitments or flexible business strategies. Some business owners have the skills to keep the business afloat and make a strong initial foundation, but they are poor judges of character and work ethic when it comes to hiring employees. And, of course, there are quite a few businesses which are damaged due to irresponsible employee behavior and improper management of resources.

Drug and alcohol testing is extremely relevant to small businesses, because it allows owners to keep tabs on the types of problems which would directly affect productivity and reliability. Whereas one or two “slackers” and addicts may not cause a large percentage of corporate damage in a large business, the same number of these characters can almost ruin a small business. Although substance abuse testing has been considered “intrusive” in the past, it is now widely recognized as a reasonable, accurate data collection method which significantly reduces employee turnover and damage to reputation.

An article about small business management describes the five stages of small business growth: Existence, Survival, Success, Take-off and Resource Maturity. These levels of development signal how the company moves from an idea and set-up to a cooperation of individuals and partner companies. Resources and financial prosperity are merely “side-effects” or blooms on the plants. They are not how the business grows or succeeds. One of the most important factors in small business success is the attention paid to the early stages of growth. Without this involvement and forethought, the business is likely to undergo unnecessary changes and small detours which interrupt growth and diversify resources rather than concentrating them. [1]

Drug and alcohol testing is important in the early stages of small business growth, because standards, structure and integrity must all include safety and reliability. Without these factors, the business will not progress to the later stages. When these mature levels are reached, drug and alcohol testing becomes an expected part of protocol and reputation maintenance. At any level, testing is necessary in order to achieve full potential.

CMM Technology offers efficient, accurate and precise drug and alcohol testing equipment. Call us today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Storey, D. J.. Small business: critical perspectives on business and management.. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.

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The effects of alcohol

The effects of alcohol

Alcohol has both short-term and long term physical, psychological and behavioural effects. Most of us view alcohol as a stimulant – it makes us feel cheerful and relaxed. It is, however, a central nervous system depressant and over time it has different effects on us.

How is the amount of alcohol you have consumed measured?

When you drink alcohol it is absorbed by your stomach, enters the bloodstream and goes to all the tissues. To test how much alcohol is in your blood stream the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is measured. The BAC is a measure of how much alcohol there is in your blood. A BAC of 0.05 means that in every 100ml of blood there is 0.05 grams of alcohol. In Australia it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.05 or higher. By law, probationary drivers and motorcyclists in their first year of riding must maintain a zero BAC while on the road. Drivers of heavy trucks, buses, trains and trams must also maintain a zero BAC level while on the road in most of Australia.[1]

There are basically two ways of measuring blood alcohol concentration. The first alcohol test involves taking a blood sample and doing a laboratory test to determine the BAC. The second test is to use a breathalyser, which is most suitable for the workplace and private use. CMM Technology™ supply a wide variety of alcohol testing products. These range from disposable saliva and breath alcohol testers, through to state-of-the-art digital handheld breathalysers. You can contact CMM Technology on (08) 9204 2500 for an obligation free quote.[2]

The short term effects of alcohol

The effects of alcohol, whether long term or short term, depend on the amount of alcohol consumed. With a BAC between 0.03% (within the legal driving limit) and 0.12% the effects include:

  • Overall improvement in mood and possible euphoria
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Increased sociability
  • Shortened attention span
  • Flushed appearance
  • Inhibited judgment
  • Impaired fine muscle coordination[3]

The effects of higher blood alcohol concentrations range from lethargy to confusion to coma – depending on the BAC.

The long term effects of alcohol

Drinking alcohol excessively over a long period of time is extremely dangerous. “Each year approximately 3000 people die as a result of excessive alcohol consumption and around 101 000 people are hospitalised”.[4]

The long terms effects of alcohol include

  • Damage to the heart
  • High blood pressure which can lead to strokes
  • Cancer of the colon
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Damage to the liver
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sexual impotence
  • Reduced fertility
  • Brain damage involving mood and personality changes

The problems listed above would be the most obvious effects of excessive alcohol consumption. The impact on your relationships and social life are enormous, you are at high risk of losing your job and you may clash with the law. Problems with the law include drunken driving, being drunk and disorderly and fighting.

Although the policy appear loathe to prosecute for drunk and disorderly behaviour unless there is violence involved, on the ABC News website dated 01 March 2011 it is stated that “On-the-spot fines for drunk and disorderly behaviour will increase under proposed changes to the state’s liquor licensing laws.[5]

Conclusion

This article has concentrated on the health and physical problems related to alcohol, but alcohol also impacts negatively on relationships, finances and work, and may result in legal problems.

Despite alcohol being a legal and socially acceptable drug, a large number of drinkers do drink excessively from time to time. We should all be aware of both the short term and long term effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

Bibliography

Acohol and Its Effects. (2010, December 10). Retrieved March 17, 2011, from Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia: http://www.dassa.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=122

Drug & Alcohol Testing -> Alcohol Testing. (2010). Retrieved March 16, 2011, from CMM Technology: http://cmm.com.au/drug-alcohol-testing-alcohol-testing-c-43_52.html?osCsid=d99aa78db436bc1e3714c2d36ab92197

Drunk and Disorderly Fines Set to Increase. (2011, March 01). Retrieved March 18, 2011, from ABC News: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/01/3152049.htm

NCARD Fact Sheet. (Undated). Retrieved March 16, 2011, from National Alcohol and Drug Research Centre, University of New South Wales: http://www.med.unsw.edu.au/NDARCWeb.nsf/resources/NDARCFact_Drugs5/$file/ALCOHOL+AND+DRIVING.pdf

Short-term effects of alcohol. (2011, March 16). Retrieved March 16, 2011, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short-term_effects_of_alcohol


[1] (NCARD Fact Sheet, Undated)

[2] (Drug & Alcohol Testing -> Alcohol Testing, 2010)

[3] (Short-term effects of alcohol, 2011)

[4] (Acohol and Its Effects, 2010)

[5] (Drunk and Disorderly Fines Set to Increase, 2011) (Drunk and Disorderly Fines Set to Increase, 2011)

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Loss of Appetite and Drug Abuse: The Vicious Cycle

Drug abuse necessarily creates a depletion of nutrients within the body, due to overall loss of appetite and restricted financial means of acquiring healthy, wholesome food. While lighter drugs, such as marijuana, temporarily increase appetite, the neurological, behavioral and psychological patterns of hard drug abuse decrease appetite dramatically. In addition to this, hard drug abuse requires a great deal of financial resources to maintain, thus depleting money which would otherwise be spent on basic everyday uses, like groceries and mealtime preparation.

In a book by Bryan Lask and Rachel Bryant-Waugh, [1] they describe how the psychologies of drug abuse and eating disorders are both similar to self destructive obsessive compulsive disorders. The underlying problem for both is the inability to deal with daily recurrent stresses and the need to distract oneself over and over again. Just about any time the stress occurs or the reminder of personal inactivity occurs, the distraction must be used. This is a powerful motive, which can cause effective mental suppression of hunger pains or drug withdrawal. It is important to realize that drug abuse is not merely associated with simple appetite loss, but also with severe eating disorders.

Returning to the nutrition deficiency, this is where the cycle can really take effect. In order to successfully reproduce cells, the body must maintain a certain level of nutritional resources. Without these resources, mood is affected, depression becomes more prominent, the body feels listless and tired, and proper eating with exercise is actually taxing on the system. Drug abuse continues this cycle of depletion, starving your cells of the necessary building blocks with which to reproduce. The Manuel of Nursing Diagnosis by Marjory Gordon lists how important it is to have proper intake of fluids, vitamins, minerals and protein. [2]

This cycle can begin with either the drug abuse or the poor eating, and subsequent loss of appetite. Loss of proper appetite and substance abuse feed off of each other and create dangerous health conditions within the body, decreasing immune resistance to disease and infection. Sickness becomes much more likely to occur and, if either habit continues, more likely to grow into more serious health conditions.

It is important to maintain proper nutrition within one’s diet, as well as avoiding substance abuse. Healthy food and clean water increase endorphins within the body, reducing stress and raising the ability to handle difficult situations in life. Since substance abuse is commonly used to “escape” the pressures of everyday life, one must remember that nutrition can replace this need and strengthen one’s resolve. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Lask, Bryan , and Rachel Bryant-Waugh. Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence. 2000. Reprint. Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press Ltd., 2002. Print.

2. Gordon, Marjory. Manual of nursing diagnosis: including all diagnostic categories approved by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association. 11th ed. Sudbury, massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett, 2007. Print.

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Does Alcoholism Affect Men and Women Differently?

Alcoholism has a reputation for bringing out the worst in both men and women. However, upon careful research, you might be interested to not only learn the differences between how alcoholism affects men and women, but also how alcoholism affects aggression as opposed to normal, sober aggression.

In research on the combined effects of alcohol and tobacco smoking, it was found that esophageal cancer was attributed to men and women who drank alcohol and smoked tobacco on a regular basis. However, men were twice as likely to develop esophageal cancer as women were. Women could combine both smoking and drinking and could still be only half as likely to develop this cancer as men. Since a lot of this data was confirmed by self-reporting, there is still not enough of a discrepancy between men and women in this area, and other factors must be taken into consideration. The average amount of alcohol consumed every day plus the total years devoted to smoking are two factors which greatly affect how at-risk either gender is for esophageal cancer. [1]

Men and women are also different when alcohol and aggression are combined, but this may have more to do with temperament than actual alcoholism.

In a study conducted by Hoaken and Pihl, men and women exhibited equal aggression during alcohol consumption and that this seemed to be the case even when provoked while being sober. This lead the researchers to believe that both women are equally as aggressive as men when highly provoked, and that alcohol consumption had less to do with the end result as the amount of provocation. [2]

Does this mean that aggressive temperaments are based solely upon the inherent traits of each individual? Not quite.

A study by Rohsenow and Bachorowski determined that men and women do exhibit different levels of aggression, depending upon the level of intoxication. While both genders exhibited slight increase in natural aggression at high doses of alcohol, females also showed higher aggression even at low doses. In other words, women were more affected by men when drinking small doses of alcohol. Interestingly enough, the researchers also evaluated how knowledge and ignorance of alcoholic intake affected the overall aggression of either gender. Their findings corroborated the findings of Hoaken and Pihl, in that belief about lack of self control actually affected aggression more than the alcohol. [2]

If you need to test for drugs or alcohol in your family members or employees, CMM Technology offers high quality drug and alcohol testing equipment. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. “Independent and joint effects of tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking on the risk of esophageal cancer in men and women – Castellsagué – 1999 – International Journal of Cancer – Wiley Online Library.” Wiley Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2011. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/%28SICI%291097-0215%2819990827%2982:5%3C657::AID-IJC7%3E3.0.CO;2-C/pdf.

2. “THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL INTOXICATION ON AGGRESSIVE RESPONSES IN MEN AND WOMEN.” Oxford Journals | Medicine | Alcohol and Alcoholism. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2011. http://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/content/35/5/471.short.

3. Rohsenow, Damaris, and Jo-Anne Bachorowski. “Effects of alcohol and expectancies on verbal aggression in men and women.” APA PsycNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2011. http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=1985-06151-001.

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Common Diseases Associated with Marijuana Use

Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused illicit drugs available to both adults and youth. Cannabis, also known as marijuana, marihuana, bush, herb, hemp, grass, loco weed, resin and tea, is a psychoactive drug which can have either mild or strong effects on the mind and body, depending upon the quality of the plant and from which part of the plant it was taken. The most common psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly known as THC). In smaller amounts, the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is also found.

Marijuana users display some common diseases, which are far more prevalent among the “weed” community than in non-drug users. Respiratory diseases and chest colds are the most common among marijuana users.

Emphysema decreases or causes abnormal respiratory function, due to a condition of the lungs which prevents them from expelling air completely and exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen.[1]

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the membranes which line the bronchial tubes. The bronchial tubes are the airways through which we breathe. [1]

Lung cancer is another disease associated with long-term marijuana use, and it comes in various forms and sub-forms. Two main types are Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), which is very common, and Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC), which comprises only 20% of all lung cancer cases. NSCLC can be sub-divided into Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Adenocarcinoma, Bronchioalveolar Carcinoma, and Large Cell Undifferentiated Carcinoma. [1]

Bronchial asthma is exhibited through chronic inflammation of the lungs, which causes the bronchi (airways) to reversibly narrow. Think of being unable to breathe during a strong fit of coughing, as if the lungs and bronchi are working in unsynchronized order. [1]

Continuous, long-term marijuana use can cause a wide range of physical and physiological illnesses, including attacks to the immune system, cardiovascular system, respiratory and pulmonary systems, and the endocrine system. In addition to this, it increases susceptibility to infection and various types of cancer. [2]

Quality alcohol and drug testing equipment is available through CMM Technology. Keep your home and your workplace safe with regular testing. Reduce disease and susceptibility to disease, infections and viruses by carefully monitoring your staff at work. It is your responsibility to maintain a safe and secure working environment by keeping everyone healthy and following your company policies. Even though marijuana is a commonly used drug, you can reduce its use in your environment. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. “Respiratory symptoms and lung function in habitual heavy smokers of marijuana alone, smokers of marijuana and tobacco, smokers of tobacco alone, and nonsmokers..” UK PubMed Central. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2011. http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/3492159/reload=0;jsessionid=C3A7AEF67A42FA0B44C8EA841E8687E0.jvm4.

2. “Clinical consequences of marijuana.” The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology . N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2011. http://jcp.sagepub.com/content/42/11_suppl/7S.short.

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Bone Loss and Hard Drug Abuse

Hard drug abuse causes a wide variety of physical, psychological and physiological side effects, not the least of which is bone loss. Different illicit drugs cause specific and overall bone loss. Weight and bone maintenance is important with regard to immune resistance and reducing bone fracture. Hard drugs, such as methamphetamine, heroin, and morphine, can start to take effect quickly and can cause the most damage in the long run.

In a book on oral and maxillofacial pathology, a group of dentists identify a comprehensive set of treatments and prognoses, including the high erosion of the teeth due to methamphetamine abuse. Meth abuse is in direct correlation to fracturing of the tooth enamel, rotting and decay of the enamel and dentin, and overall tooth loss. Teeth turn black, erode down to tiny stubs or even down to the roots, and are very sensitive to the touch, much more to standard, everyday oral care.[1]

A study on osteopenia discusses heroin abuse and HIV-related bone loss in women. Osteopenia is a condition where the bone mineral density is lower than it should be. Osteopenia is a precursor to Osteoporosis, but it does not always lead to this disease. Osteoporosis is a severe lack of bone tissue, which results in breakable, porous bones. Heroin abuse is highly correlated with HIV development and fast progression. The study compared groups of women, both HIV-infected and non-infected, and used women with similar high risk factors, so as to judge the impact of HIV on osteopenia. The results determined that HIV is indeed a strong factor in loss of bone mineral density, particularly non-black women, underweight women and opiate abusing women. [2]

Morphine is used as a treatment to reduce pain associated with certain types of cancer, including metastatic bone cancer. In a study concentrating on bone loss and morphine treatment, it was found that morphine treatments actually increase spontaneous fracture, bone loss, pain, and osteolysis. Osteolysis is essentially dissolving of the bone, usually due to particulate disease. Particulate disease is where particles, probably tiny specks of plastic from a joint replacement, are released into the tissue, stirring up the immune system and eliciting inflammation which can result in bone loss. [3]

Clearly, hard drugs wreak a great deal of havoc on bones and inner bone tissue. It is important to remember these side effects even when taking drugs for pain relief, as this can turn into abuse as well. Drug testing is needed to determine the amount of substance within the body. Quality drug and alcohol testing equipment can be found at CMM Technology. Contact us today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Neville, Brad W. Oral & maxillofacial Pathology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 2002. Print.

2. “HIV Infection and Bone Mineral Density in Middle-Aged Women .” Oxford Journals | Medicine | Clinical Infectious Diseases. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2011. http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/42/7/1014.short.

3. “Morphine treatment accelerates sarcoma-induced bone pain, bone loss, and spontaneous fracture in a murine model of bone cancer.” Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2011. http://www.painjournalonline.com/article/S0304-3959%2807%2900350-8/abstract.

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Meth Mouth in the Workplace

In the workplace environment, drug testing is necessary in order to keep a check on illicit and unprofessional behavior. Drug and alcohol testing must be performed at routine intervals, so that irresponsible employee behavior can be identified early on and dealt with appropriately. It is important to recognize some of the signs of drug abuse. While alcoholism can exhibit as tough, aged, leathery skin, drugs exhibit in other ways, such as “meth mouth.” Meth mouth is the combination of oral side effects which result from methamphetamine abuse.

Methamphetamine destroys teeth in a unique way, which no other drug seems to mimic. [1] Meth causes teeth to turn gray or brown and to twist out, break out or fall out, depending upon the fragmentation involved. The teeth lose their hardness and even become soft and mushy, like ripe fruit. The tooth loss is so great that incidents of highly sensitive, short black stubs being found in 17 year olds is high among young meth abusers, and dentures must be worn in order to function normally without their teeth. Dentists who work in areas of high meth lab concentrations find that most of their work consists of digging for roots, for those are the only remaining parts of the teeth found in addicts.

What are the various forms of decay found with meth mouth?

“Meth mouth” exhibits through different types of muscle trismus, enamel erosion, xerostomia, bruxism, and rampant caries. Muscle trismus is the inability to open the mouth to full capacity, and in the past, the term was also associated with lock-jaw. Enamel is the thin, hard outer layer or coating of the tooth, which is the hardest compound found in the body. Enamel erosion means that the inner layer of softer dentin within the tooth is exposed to heat, temperature change, wear-and-tear, food staining. Without the enamel, the entire tooth becomes worn down to nothing. Xerostomia (or “cottonmouth”) is extreme dryness of the mouth, due to lack of saliva production, which is common in meth mouth. Bruxism is unintentional and continuous grinding, clamping and clenching of the teeth, and can lead to enamel erosion, even in healthy mouths. Rampant caries is tooth decay, tooth fracture, cavities and holes in the teeth, all due to bacterial growth. Think of how much damage a vine can do to a stone wall. This is the equivalent inside your mouth, so be sure to floss your teeth, in addition to brushing them, so as to remove these tiny pieces of bacteria! As you can see, meth mouth is highly dangerous to your oral care, and can be easily identified among your employees and office personnel. Contact CMM Technology today for your drug and alcohol testing equipment: +618-9204-2500.

1. Davey, Monica. “Grisly Effect of One Drug: ‘Meth Mouth’.” New York Times 11 June 2005: unknown. VA Dental. Web. 16 Mar. 2011.

2. “Methamphetamine abuse and “meth mouth”. [Northwest Dent. 2005 Sep-Oct] – PubMed result.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16317979.

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Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a psycho-stimulant which also affects the central nervous system. Cocaine has many nicknames, including Crack, Coke, Blow, and Snow (due to its white powder appearance), but the technical term is Cocaine Benzoylmethylecgonine, which is a tropane alkaloid. Tropane is a bicyclic organic compound (C8H15N) which is the parent compound for a group of alkaloids, including Cocaine and Atropine. [1] Cocaine is used in Powder, Freebase, Crack and Coca Leaf forms.

Physical side effects of Cocaine abuse include bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils, runny nose, increased and quickened weight loss, lowered immune resistance, hyperactive behavior and the “shakes,” quick heart rate, chills and breaking out in a cold sweat. Cocaine abuse gives an individual a feeling of power and control and plenty of unrealistic grandiose ideas, which leads to performing dangerous impossible feats, due to thought alteration.

Behaviorally, Cocaine abuse leads to change in lifestyle choices, such as unkempt and dirty appearance, high energy immediately followed by hard depression and extreme tiredness, overall paranoia, financial problems, missed work, school or social activities, isolation from groups, and generally erratic or irregular social interaction. [2] A sense of being distracted and not listening is reported by families of crack addicts. Irritation, frustration and strain on personal relationships are especially noticeable. Addicts tend to not maintain a healthy or clean standard of living, using not only their extra income, but their base income as well, on furthering their habits. This is due to the extremely short-term euphoric effects of cocaine. Relative to other abusive substances, the high of crack cocaine does not last very long. The following depression does not show up on the second or third day of withdrawal, but as an immediate occurrence after being high. This elicits a very real and heavy need to keep a constant flow traveling through the body at all times. This is a very expensive abusive habit.

As with many other narcotics, Cocaine presents highly abusive traits, the standard euphoria and feelings of grandeur being the most prevalent signs. This can lead to dependency within a very short period of time. Keep your family members and employees safe from this self-destructive drug with regular screenings using appropriate drug and alcohol testing equipment. It can lead to deception and stealing at home and unsafe working conditions on the job. Your environment and personal wellbeing can be greatly improved through these measures. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Aggarwal, Anil. Nashilian dwaian . Delhi: National Book Trust, 1999. Print.

2. Mendelson, Jack , and Nancy Mello. “Management of Cocaine Abuse and Dependence.” The New England Journal of Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199604113341507.

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What is Poly Drug Use and Can It Be Detected?

In the common parlance, we talk about “drug of choice” which suggests that most drug users are using a single drug. Yet the statistics published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare suggest differently. In the 2003 report, it indicates:1

  • 19.3% of drinkers also use another illicit drug
  • 21.9% of marijuana users also use amphetamines
  • 11.9% of people using amphetamines, ecstasy or cocaine are also using tranquillisers
  • 3.7% of people using amphetamines, ecstasy or cocaine are also using injected drugs

Poly drug use refers to the regular consumption of a combination of drugs. It is a growing problem as illicit drug users search for new ways to achieve desired effects. In addition, as the statistics indicate, many illicit drug users are also taking legal prescription drugs like tranquillisers or inhalants.

Researchers have studied poly drug use from different perspectives. In one study, poly drug use was studied among methamphetamine users and particularly among those people who frequent bars and clubs. They use “…speed and base as the baseline on which to add any one or more of a range of other drugs..”1 This particular study also found that methamphetamine substance abusers also used cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana in addition to alcohol at the same time.

The study also noted that people frequently mix methamphetamines with prescription drugs. Prescription drugs are typically analgesics, sleeping pills, barbiturates and inhalants.

In a different study with a twist, the behaviour called bingeing was evaluated. “Bingeing on psychostimulants, considered to be the most hazardous pattern of use, is usually characterised as repeated use over several days involving the administration of high doses by injection….Polydrug use and injecting drugs use appear to be salient characteristics of drug user who binge.”2 Unfortunately, bingers often use alcohol and/or drugs in the workplace while they are on a binge.

The variety of drugs used by illicit substance abusers grows every day. They may go by different street names, but most drugs fall within the categories of:

  • Depressants including opiates, benzodiazepines, barbiturates and non-opiate analgesics
  • Stimulants including amphetamines, methamphetamine and cocaine
  • Hallucinogens including marijuana and LSD
  • Narcotics including heroin
  • Alcohol

Since millions of workers are poly drug users, the testing equipment used in the workplace should be able to detect multiple drugs to be as effective as possible. For example, the Oraline Saliva Drug Test will test for marijuana, methamphetamine, opiates and cocaine. The Medix Integrated Pro-Split Cup will test for THC (cannabis), methamphetamine, opiates, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamines. It is important to use quality drug and alcohol testing equipment because of the growing problem of poly drug use. CMM Technology at http://cmm.com.au/index.php has an array of technologically advanced and affordable drug testing equipment that can detect poly drug use.

It should be noted that employers designing drug testing programs must address the issue of workers who use legal prescription drugs versus illicit drugs.  The drug testing equipment will produce results for both. The employer must develop legal and ethical policies on pre-screening and employee confidentiality to insure the workers’ privacy rights are protected.  The employer must also develop policies on the use of legal prescription drugs by employees for cases where the drug presents as much of a safety risk as illicit drugs.

References

1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2003, February). Statistics on Drug Use in Australia 2002 – Poly Drug Use. Retrieved March 1, 2011, from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: www.aihw.gov.au/publications/phe/sdua02/sdua02-c11.pdf

2Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. (2008, February). Patterns of Use and Harms Associated with Specific Populations of Methamphetamine Users in Australia – exploratory Research: qualitative research report. Retrieved March 2, 2011, from Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/phd-npi-methamphetamine-report-feb09-l~polydruguse

3Loxley, C. O. (1996). Bingeing on Psychostimulants in Australia: Do We Know What It Means (And Does it Matter)? Retrieved February 28, 2011, from informa Healthcare Research & Theory: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/16066359609005561

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All in a Name…Street Drug Name That Is…

What do the following words have in common?

…sherbert, choof, dingers, flippers, ‘eckies, champagne, charlie, ganga, go-ee, hammer, harry, ice, miaow miaow (or meow meow)…

What ties all these words together is the fact they are street names for illicit drugs.  Many of these terms listed were extracted from an online forum on which someone asked about the street names and slang used in Australia for cocaine, cannabis and MDMA. There is a whole language that drug abusers use to talk to each other. These terms were developed so that drug users could communicate with each other and with drug dealers without actually using the drug names.

Sherbet refers to cocaine while choof is marijuana. Dingers are MDMA. The term ‘eckies is used for ecstasy while champagne is another street name for cocaine or coke. This is a very short list of the various terms that drug users incorporate in their language, and generally speaking, the terms are similar around the world.

You will notice that several of the street names for drugs are harmless sounding. Who would be alarmed at the use of the word “sherbert”, “champagne” or meow-meow? An employer walking through a department hears one employee talking about sherbert or snuff to another employee and doesn’t think much about it because many employers simply are not familiar with the street names for drugs.

It’s easy to be deceived if you are not participating in the drug culture. For example, as harmless as the name meow-meow sounds, it’s a street name for a powerful drug that arrived in Australia as recently as early 2010.  Other names for it include bath salts, MMCAT, 4-MMC, kitty cat, plant food, drone and bubbles. Here is a brief profile of this drug:1

  • Street name for recreational drug 4-methylmethcathinone
  • 4-methylmethcathinone is mephedrone
  • Mephedrone is a derivative of methcathinone
  • Creates a state of euphoria with an ecstasy-like hit
  • Has few after-effects
  • Has a mild come-down making it popular for use during weekend parties

Mephedrone, or meow meow as it is called on some streets, is one of the newer drugs to show up in Australia. In fact, it is new enough that its full impact on humans has not been determined yet. Originally designed to be used in plant fertiliser it is actually a synthetic cathinone. Chemically speaking, its structure is similar to amphetamine meaning it may be detectable through using drug test equipment like the Oraline Saliva Drug Test kit which detects amphetamines.2 The research is still continuing to determine that.

Meow-meow is a powerful drug that can damage veins, and cause convulsions, paranoia, anxiety, rapid heart rate and more. There have many horror stories associated with the drug including some of self-mutilation and death while people were under its influence.2 Much still needs to be learned about this drug according to the Australian Drug Foundation, but what is known is that employers would not want their employees working in safety sensitive jobs while abusing meow-meow or other illicit substances.  Unfortunately a shortage of ecstasy has led to a rise in the use of meow-meow.

That is precisely why employers need a quality alcohol and drug testing program that also includes the most technologically current testing equipment on the market. Companies like CMM Technology at http://cmm.com.au/drug-alcohol-testing-c-43.html work diligently to stay ahead of the street drugs no matter what the drug culture chooses to name them.

References

1 Drug Info Clearinghouse. (2011). Mephedrone. Retrieved March 2, 2011, from Australian Government Drug Info Clearinghouse: http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/druginfo/drugs/drugfacts/mephedrone.html

2 The West Australian. (2010, January 28). New Drug Prompts ‘Horrendous’ Effects. Retrieved March 3, 2011, from thewest.com.au: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/national/6733777/new-drug-prompts-horrendous-effects/

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