A recent article in the Age www.theage.com.au/victoria/abuse-of-prescription-drugs-on-rise-20110703-1gxe2.html, highlighted a warning by the Victoria police drug taskforce chief about the rise in prescription drug abuse. In particular stimulants such as Ritalin which is an amphetamine and opiates such as Xanax and Oxycontin. These drugs can be either purchased on the black market or through the collection of multiple prescriptions for the same condition via doctor shopping.
Even OTC medications containing codeine can be taken in excessive dosages. The abuse of these medications can have considerable impairing effects similar to the drugs of abuse ‘speed’ and heroine with implications to workplace safety. Unfortunately it can be difficult to determine if a worker is taking the drug legitimately or are taking it at a level that could be impairing. However there are CASA registered medical practitioners designated as Medical Review Officers that are trained to be able to interpret the results of a drug confirmation result in particular from oral fluids and make a reasonable assessment of the workers fitness for duty. DASA has two CASA Medical Review Officers – Dr Allen and Dr Saafan - available for consultation.