(02) 8001 2535

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Newsletter

The end of the year is approaching and many of us will celebrate the festive season over a drink or three with friends, family and work colleagues. However, too often, the party season takes its toll on our health and may affect our safety at work. How can you be safe these holidays ?

A recent report from South Australia’s peak business lobby, Business SA, has found that more people than ever are turning up for work under the influence of methamphetamines (commonly referred to as Ice).

Business SA teamed up with SafeWork Laboratories to get a better understanding of drug use in Australian workplaces. Their research found that in 2017, 240,000 workers tested positive for methamphetamines - an increase from 1.5% to 1.9% in just one year.
In South Australia, the report also found about 5,000 people working in safety-sensitive industries were "either under the influence of ice or suffering its hangover effects".

Often users of cannabis report that they take it for pain. New research suggests that it may have no effect on chronic pain. Certainly cannabis use is higher in those with pain. But this may not be for relief of pain and could even be detrimental to them.

The recent study published in the Lancet Public Health journal from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW did a random selection of 1500 people using opioids for chronic pain1.
During four years those who used cannabis reported more severe pain and more anxiety. Interestingly a previous NDARC study suggested cannabis might reduce pain by up to 30%.

Dr Dominic Reynolds, Manager Forensic Chemistry Chemcentre, has recently been quoted1 as observing an increase in the detection of the powerful synthetic Opioid Fentanyl.  This is a prescription painkiller that has similar effects to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. The physiological effects can include nausea, confusion, dizziness, hallucinations and suppressed respiration. The most common form of the medication is Durogesic which is usually in the form of a transdermal patch or Actiq (a lozenge). It is usually only prescribed to manage severe and constant pain.

Fentanyl can also be abused either by elicit sale of pharmaceuticals or illegal manufacture. It is often sold as a substitute for heroine.

In recent weeks the Australian authorities have made record seizures of cocaine1,2 including one of 1.4 tonnes which had an estimated worth of $314 million dollars. This may be the result of better law enforcement operations, however, Dr Alex Wodak,President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation believes “the increasing number of big seizures of cocaine probably more reflects growing supply, rather than increasing cleverness of law enforcement authorities at intercepting greater amounts."1 According to the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey3, 8.1% of Australians over the age of 14 had used Cocaine in their lifetime and 2.1% had used it in the previous year. The recent seizures may point to a marked growth in this percentage.

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