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Employee information: Drug use

Supplier: LaneWorkSafe
17 June, 2009

Alcohol and other drugs can rob you of everything you have worked so hard for: your health, family and friends.

The use and abuse of drugs can result in being arrested, fined and even prison. Sometimes it can also cost you your job.

The cost of alcohol and other drug abuse can be very high. Not only is there a material dollar cost, there are related expenses that must be met by the user, their family, friends or society.

Employee information

Facts and Figures

Some of the costs that need to be met include:

  • Doctors bills (you get sick more often)
  • Legal bills and fines
  • Higher insurance premium
  • Lost pay or job
  • Debt

These outgoings are met by:

  • Selling possessions and property
  • Theft - ranging from shop stealing and theft from unknown persons, your employer, family or friends to armed robbery
  • Assault and robbery
  • Fraud
  • Selling possessions
  • Prostitution
  • Break and Enter

A drug culture can quickly develop in a company where a primary user supports his or her habit by distributing a variety of substances to lesser, or secondary, users throughout the company.

Within a matter of weeks a strong, profitable company built on a foundation of team work, loyalty and trust can turn into dysfunctional company; where low morale, high staff turnover and reduced profitability exist.

Every fact and figure points to alcohol and other drug(s) abuse as having devastating affects on the user and all those surrounding the person.

There is no place for alcohol or other drugs in the workplace.

1. Patterns of risky alcohol consumption in Australia

  • At all ages, there is greater proportion of the population that drinks alcohol at levels that are of higher risk for short term harm rather than long term harm to their health.

  • Alcohol use is heaviest and most frequent among young adults, and high risk drinking is particularly prevalent among young people. In 2001, amongst those aged 14-17 years, 64% of males and 69% of females were current drinkers, and 21% of males and 25% of females drank at least once a month at levels that placed them at risk of short term harm.

2. Alcohol deaths and hospitalisations

  • Alcohol caused death rates between 1990-97, were consistently higher for males than for females. In 1997, out of 3,290 deaths caused by risky levels of drinking, 70% were male and due mainly to liver cirrhosis, road injuries, stroke, suicide or alcohol dependence, 30% were female and due mainly to stroke and alcoholic cirrhosis.

  • In 1997, older people (ages 40-70 years) were more likely to die from chronic conditions, related to long term alcohol misuse, and younger people (aged 15-29 years) from acute conditions related to bouts of intoxication.

  • 70% of the alcohol caused hospitalisations are male and are due mainly to alcohol dependence, falls, assault and road injuries. Female alcohol caused hospitalisations are due mainly to falls and alcohol dependency.

3. Trends in alcohol related injury and violence

  • Alcohol is the major cause of road injury. Between 1991-97, 31% of all driver and pedestrian deaths on Australian roads were alcohol related. On average over 70% of people with serious alcohol related road injuries were male, while only 56% of people with non alcohol related serious road injuries were male.

  • Alcohol is a major contributing cause of violence in Australia. In 1998/99, it was estimated that there were 8,661 hospitalisations (2.6 per 10,000 people) for alcohol caused assaults, of whom 74% were male and 64% were aged 15-34 years.(Source: Australian Alcohol Guidelines)