Illicit drugs in the Australian workforce: Prevalence and patterns of use

Petra Bywood, Ken Pidd, Ann Roche

    Research output: Other contribution


    Illicit drugs include illegal drugs (cannabis, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens, barbiturates), pharmaceutical drugs used for non-medical purposes (painkillers, tranquilisers, amphetamines, barbiturates, methadone, other opiates and steroids) and other substances used inappropriately (inhalants, ketamine and gamma hydroxy butyrate (GHB)).

    Little is known about the prevalence and patterns of use of illicit drugs in the Australian workforce, including on-site and (more frequently) use of drugs before or after work; and any pattern of use likely to impact on an individual’s capacity to work safely, productively and with proper ‘duty of care’ for others. Use of illicit drugs may be associated with a range of factors affecting individuals’ performance in the workplace. These factors relate to productivity, work relationships and health and safety of individuals. Productivity may be reduced by illness and absenteeism, compromised work quality, reduced work rate and increased risk of making mistakes. Poor concentration, impaired judgement and slowed/altered reaction times impact on the health and safety of all employees by increasing the risk of injury, both on- and off-site. Unpredictable actions, violent and abusive behaviour and criminal activity may also contribute to a breakdown in relationships with other workers.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherNational Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University.
    Number of pages4
    Place of PublicationSouth Australia
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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