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New national research suggests 1 in 10 suspect illegal drug use by workplace colleagues

May 14th, 2018 Comments off

New national research suggests 1 in 10 suspect illegal drug use by workplace colleagues

  • One in five don’t take any action if they suspect a friend, family member or colleague of using illegal drugs
  • Regional variations show that almost twice as many Londoners suspect colleagues of drug use compared to national average
  • Would simple drug tests in the workplace help? New technology enables employers to screen employees using a simple fingerprint sweat test

New research released today suggests that more than one in ten workers across the UK have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs. This figure rises to 24% in London – almost twice the national average, while at 6% those surveyed in the North-East appeared to be far less suspicious of their colleagues.

The research, commissioned by Intelligent Fingerprinting to determine UK attitudes to drug screening in the workplace, also shows that one in five employees took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use. This, despite the fact that 43% of people worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe. Similarly, just under a quarter (22%) have suspected a friend of taking illegal drugs, but again those one in five did nothing about it.

Dr Paul Yates of Intelligent Fingerprinting commented: “drug misuse has always been a concern when it comes to health & safety in the workplace, however this latest research suggests the issue could be even more widespread than previously thought. It is clear that drug usage not only puts the safety of individual employees at risk, but also contributes to the cumulative workplace accidents that cost the UK some £4 billion every year[1]. It’s particularly an issue in those sectors where drug misuse takes place in safety-critical working environments such as construction, manufacturing, logistics, public transport networks and utilities.”

“What is notable from the research is that colleagues are reluctant to act – perhaps because they do not have the ability to provide proof or evidence that drug usage has actually taken place,” adds Paul Yates. “Employers who do implement a drug and alcohol policy are often frustrated by the practical challenges within their specific workplaces. Operating a traditional drug screening service using urine tests on a construction site, for example, is rather inconvenient. It’s perhaps no surprise that our new fingerprint-based drug screening test – thanks to its portability, ease-of-use and non-invasive approach – is already generating interest from those health & safety managers and occupational health professionals who are responsible for safety in the workplace. It takes only a few seconds to collect a fingerprint sweat sample and screens for multiple drugs of abuse – amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and opiates – in a single test, delivering results in under eight minutes. It’s an ideal platform for spontaneous workplace drug screening and we know that regular random drug screening, combined with an effective drug and alcohol policy, acts as a strong deterrent to drug use in the workplace.”

Interviews are available with Dr Paul Yates, a Director at Intelligent Fingerprinting and Abigail Morakinyo of Health in Check – to find out more information about the research.

Facts and figures from the research and regional breakdown

The research for Intelligent Fingerprinting was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 27/04/2018 and 30/04/2018 amongst a panel resulting in 1,200 respondents. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).

National
13%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
43% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
20% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

East of England
11%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
46% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
17% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

London
24%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
37% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
21% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

East Midlands
11%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
18% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

West Midlands
12%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
13% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

North East
6%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
44% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
11% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

North West
12%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
29% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Northern Ireland
15%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
50% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
40% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Scotland
13%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
49% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
22% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

South East
13%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
22% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

South West
12%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
45% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
23% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Wales
15%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
39% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
11% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Yorkshire and the Humber
11%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
45% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
21% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

The Intelligent Fingerprinting Drug Screening System consists of a four-panel test cartridge and the portable Intelligent Fingerprinting Reader 1000 analysis instrument. Together these have the potential to be used almost anywhere, any time to support a range of applications including drug rehabilitation programmes, tackling drug use as part of offender management, police initiatives such as roadside testing for drug driving, coroner services, as well as establishing fitness for duty in safety-critical workplaces such as the transport and construction industries.

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