Sleeping with the Enemy

saliva drug test, oraline saliva, AlcotechCMM Technology offers you reliable, cost effective and advanced screening technologies for all types of industries and businesses. Your business needs to stay abreast of current information on drug and alcohol use and workplace testing. It also needs to be aware of other drugs that may be legal but also have the capacity to disrupt your workplace and cause hazard, risk or even injury to your employees.

Sedatives, commonly known as sleeping pills are one such drug group to be aware of. CMM Technology offers you this profile on sleeping pills to help you continue to wage the war against drug use in your workplace.

Hypnotics (Sleeping Pills)

These are soporific drugs – a class of psychoactive substances with a primary function to induce sleep. They treat restlessness, sleeplessness, insomnia and also stress and anxiety. Because doctors prescribe them they are viewed as legal drugs.[1]

These drugs may be habit forming and addictive, and are not safe in the workplace, particularly in heavy industries such as mining, aviation, transport, engineering and maritime and defence. Examples of sleeping pills include benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazapenes.

Benzodiazepines are the most common and often prescribed sleeping pill group in Australia and include such brand names as serepax, valium and rohypnol.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has listed guidelines for these drugs. If you are an employer, make sure you are aware of this advice and educate your employees as part of your AOD policies and procedures.

The guidelines include:

  • Education on risk of dependence with long-term use
  • When prescribed benzodiazepines the lowest dose should be used.[2]

Other hypnotic/soporific groups include:

  • Barbiturates
  • Opioids
  • Antihistamines
  • Melatonin agonists

Make sure your employees are well versed about the effects of these particular groups of drugs and also make sure the effects of these drugs on work tasks is publicised at your site or workplace. When you effectively disseminate information about drugs and their risks, you can also safeguard your business against the possibility of litigation, should accident or injury occur.

One of the main problems associated with sleeping pills is the resistance that occurs after a few weeks of continual use. This may also mean your employee who is prescribed sleeping pills may increase his/or her dose to gain the same effect as initially occurred when first prescribed.

The Australian Sleep Association suggests a number of “alternative top sleeping tips” that can replace the need for sleeping pills. Be sure to incorporate these into any EAP where an employee is struggling with sleeping, stress, insomnia and sleeping pill use which has also impacted his work tasks and work safety.

The suggestions are:

  • Ensure regular sleep patterns – go to bed at the same time and aim for 8 hours
  • Limit your caffeine intake
  • Limit your alcohol intake (its diuretic effect can have you getting up to go to the toilet throughout the night
  • Resist daytime naps
  • Manage your stress
  • Avoid sleeping pills – they do not deal with cause of insomnia
  • Make sleep area dark and comfortable
  • Seek professional help.[3]

CMM Technology supports organisations and businesses to develop sound drug and alcohol procedures and policies as part of their OHS and Employee Assistance Programmes. CMM Technology understands the need to safeguard against drugs and alcohol in the workplace. For more information on their quality testing devices please telephone  618 9204 2500.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnotic

[2] http://www.racgp.org.au/guidelines/benzodiazapines

[3] http://www.sleepaus.on.net/

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