In recent weeks the Australian authorities have made record seizures of cocaine1,2 including one of 1.4 tonnes which had an estimated worth of $314 million dollars. This may be the result of better law enforcement operations, however, Dr Alex Wodak,President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation believes “the increasing number of big seizures of cocaine probably more reflects growing supply, rather than increasing cleverness of law enforcement authorities at intercepting greater amounts."1 According to the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey3, 8.1% of Australians over the age of 14 had used Cocaine in their lifetime and 2.1% had used it in the previous year. The recent seizures may point to a marked growth in this percentage.
Cocaine is a stimulant that can produce a feeling of euphoria and increased mental alertness. However it can also lead to unpredictable and violent behaviour as well as high blood pressure and dizziness. It can either be snorted, smoked or even injected and in large enough doses can lead to coma and death.
In a workplace situation it can have a considerable impact especially with regard to risk taking behaviour. Depending on the frequency and size of the dose the presence of the drug in the system can be relatively short, potentially only a few hours. So if a workplace incident has occurred that may be due to the effects of Cocaine it is important to have the worker tested as soon as possible. DASA has a 24/7 On-call cause testing service that has a national response time which averages 45 minutes. Contact DASA at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
3) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2014). National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013. Canberra: AIHW