The amount of workers in Queensland testing positive for cocaine is the highest on record, according to a new report released earlier this week.
Scott Osborne, the managing director of drug-testing company Fit4Duty, who produced the report, says the results reflect an increasing uptake in drug use across Australian workplaces.
“We have confirmed the presence of cocaine in more workers in Queensland in the first seven months of the year than we saw in the entire last year,” Osborne said.
“This reflects a national upwards trend that appears to have started in NSW and then spread to the other states.”
The results from this report also correspond to a report from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. According to the Commission’s sixth National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report, Queensland has the second-highest average consumption of cocaine in regional areas.
The report also showed an increase in the average methamphetamine – also known as meth or ice – consumption in Queensland from April 2018 and August 2018.
Even though the use of cocaine is rising at workplaces, Mr. Osborne points out that cannabis is still the most used drug, following amphetamines like ice.
“Cannabis appears at twice the level that methamphetamine does in the workplace.”
Fit4Duty also revealed that positive results for methamphetamine have dropped by 66% since 2013.
Owing to privacy agreements, Fit4Duty did not reveal the industries where cocaine abuse took place. However, drug tests are more often performed in safety-critical industries like transport and mining.
Isabella Zamorano, Senior Employment Relations Adviser at Employsure says, “Employers generally have the right to implement random drug testing programs. In many situations, particularly those involving safety critical roles, it should be considered best practice.
“The law around this area is complex and employers should seek advice to ensure that their actions are appropriately justified and non-discriminatory.”
In an earlier ACIC report, it was mentioned that the use of methamphetamine in 2013-14 resulted in workplace absenteeism and accidents.
According to Safe Work Australia, “there have been 121 Australian workers killed at work in 2019,” as of 10 October.