With the festive season upon us, binge drinking, and substance abuse is sure to be rife.

The alarming increases in usage across the worst four drug classes over the past four years are: methamphetamine (ICE) 32.6 per cent, cocaine 85 per cent, MDMA (Ecstasy) 110.2 per cent and heroin 23 per cent *.

Individuals are not aware drugs and alcohol (D&A) stay in the system long after the high has gone. The effects are reduced cognitive and critical thinking abilities, coupled with an emotional roller coaster as the body and brain try to recover. Compounding the problem is limited sleep from late nights where the brain fails to compartmentalise. This leaves one’s ability frayed and memory recollection limited.

How does an organisation maintain a safe work environment and individuals prove their Duty of Care?

A drug and alcohol policy is a start but unless monitored and maintained, organisations are left short when D&A cause serious issues. Until addressed they can be destroying every facet of a business’s bottom line.

A comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Management Plan (DAMP) is the solution. With policy, testing regimes, education, and support are the foundation. Many organisations believe they know their staff, and this will not stand up in court as a reason for not having a DAMP.

Taking a reactionary stance post incident is too late.

A proactive approach prevents the issue undermining an organisation. Importantly, it can empower individuals to make change and assistance can be provided.

A supportive culture saves time and money. With D&A used as a crux to deal with life issues, especially in this climate, supporting staff saves on hiring and retraining costs, to achieve peak performance.

Safety, productivity and quality can be strengthened with a DAMP. Morale is improved with a proactive stance towards D&A in the workplace. HR headaches and litigation are reduced when a measurable system is in place.

Promote a healthy lifestyle and have a safe festive season.

Mario McDonagh 

Director, STAH Group

*The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, “National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program” Report 12, 2021.

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