Drugs in the workplace not limited to labour workers

Drugs in the workplace not limited to labour workers


In the wake of news
that up to a quarter of Christchurch construction workers
are failing drug tests, Te Karere has spoken
to a Maori expert in this field and he shares
some surprising information. Jason Whatuira says drugs
in the workplace is widespread, and it’s not limited
to middle class workers. Manawa Wright reports Yes, employment drug testing
has been around for a long time, but one in four that use drugs
at work come from all walks. I’ve seen cases
where with promotions come more pay, and with more pay comes
more drug abuse. One Australasian
drug testing company alone conducts 200 hair sample tests
per month. Hair strands can show
traces of narcotics from up to three months prior. It used to be just blue collar
workers who were drug tested, mainly for physical safety, but the situation
with white collar drug testing appears to be more
about productivity. Perhaps the biggest question
for drug abusers is whether they would be happy
to see other drug users in charge of their wealth. But is this step encroaching
on anyone’s reasonable expectation to privacy and freedom? That’s a big misconception. Under the Health, Safety
and Employment Act, employers have an obligation
to identify these issues. They can be fined $3 million
and employers can face imprisonment of up to five years. The increased measures taken
is a step in the right direction, but the root cause of 1 in 4 of us
needing to have drugs in our system is still yet to be addressed. Manawa Wright, Te Karere.

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