(02) 8001 2535

(02) 8001 2535

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According to the Age1 Victoria Police have recently “dumped” their current drug testing agency due to their failure to follow current drug testing guidelines. These failures resulted in the overturning of a number of disciplinary cases, most recently an officer who had a positive result for methamphetamine in a hair test sample2. The Police Registration and Services Board found there was “substantial non-compliance with the regulations” and that “non-compliance with the legislatively prescribed requirements has serious consequences for the integrity of the process”.  As a result, the officer was reinstated.

There are many different medications for pain, known as analgesics, and they have varying strengths, effectiveness and implications for workplace safety.
Some of these drugs can be purchased at the supermarket or over the counter at a chemist, others for more severe or chronic forms of pain require a prescription.

The generally most effective painkillers for mild to moderate pain are paracetamol and the Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) which include aspirin and ibuprofen (Nurofen, Brufen).

Crystal Methylamphetamine commonly known as “Ice” is now acknowledged by Australian government and law enforcement agencies as the most serious development in drugs of abuse in decades(1).
It is penetrating all regions and levels of Australian society and therefore potentially all workplaces.

The increasing prevalence of a new range of drugs of abuse is providing a considerable challenge to current work place drug testing programmes. The first of these are the synthetic cannabinoids which are chemical compounds that mimic the effects of THC (marijuana) but are structurally different enough to not be detected on standard onsite screening devices. These substances may be found in products with brand names such as Kronic, Northern Lights, Spice, Kaos, Voodoo and Mango and originally did not fall under the various state and federal legislations prohibiting drugs of abuse.

Drugs of abuse are not the only concern for an employer when they are looking at minimising risk of accidents at work. Many prescription and over the counter medications can have an impairing effect, they often carry a warning not to drive or operate heavy machinery. This is often not well understood or communicated placing the worker at risk. Recently however the Transport Safety Victoria has notified rail workers “that their obligations under the Rail Safety Act 2006 – which makes it an offence to work while impaired by drugs – extend beyond illegal substances. It has warned that prescription medicines, off-the-shelf medications such as sedatives, tranquillisers and herbal remedies may affect workplace safety.”

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