How to Test for Cocaine in the Workplace

How to Test for Cocaine in the Workplace

Cocaine is the second most commonly used illegal drug among 16-59 year olds in England and Wales, according to statistics from the Office for National Statistics. With nearly 1 million people using it in the past year, cocaine dependency is becoming a major issue affecting workplaces across the country.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant derived from coca plant leaves. In its pure form it is a fine white powder known simply as cocaine or coke. It can also be processed into smokeable rocks called crack or freebase cocaine. People ingest cocaine by snorting it, smoking it, rubbing it on their gums, or injecting it intravenously.

Cocaine has been used for centuries by Indigenous South American peoples who chewed coca leaves for their energizing effects. The active compound, cocaine alkaloid, was first isolated in 1855 and given its current name in 1859.

How Cocaine Affects the Brain and Body

Cocaine works by increasing levels of the “happy hormone” dopamine in the brain, creating temporary feelings of elation, confidence, focus, and alertness. However, it also has many adverse effects including anxiety, irritability, paranoia, increased body temperature and heart rate, and loss of appetite. These effects lead to erratic behaviours that can endanger the user and people around them.

Signs of Cocaine Use to Look Out For

Supervisors should be alert for the following warning signs that an employee may be misusing cocaine:

  • Unusually talkative, energetic, or confident personality
  • Dilated pupils
  • Frequent nosebleeds or sniffing
  • Weight loss due to suppressed appetite
  • Mood swings, irritability, paranoia
  • Inability to complete assignments
  • Higher rate of accidents on the job
  • Traces of white powder around the nose

Why Workplace Drug Testing is Critical

Experts estimate that over 500,000 people use Class A drugs at work in the UK each week. Even occasional usage can seriously impact productivity, workplace safety, staff relationships, and company reputation.

Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment. Certain professions, like healthcare, transportation, and industrial jobs, carry special risks that require vigilant screening for drug impairment.

Implementing drug testing demonstrates a commitment to health, safety and integrity. It also gives employees struggling with addiction an opportunity to get help confidentially without losing their livelihoods.

Available Testing Methods

There are a few options for efficiently screening for cocaine use:

Oral fluid tests use saliva samples and indicator strips to detect cocaine for 1-2 days after last use. These simple pass/fail tests like the 10 Panel Oral Fluid Drug Test provide instant results.

Urine tests can identify cocaine metabolites for up to 4 days. Built-in controls check for tampering. Tests like the 13 Panel Urine Test Cup offer lab-quality accuracy.

Purchase tests individually or in bulk packs of 25-50 for high volume testing programs. For large orders, contact Zoom Testing directly for custom quotes and discounts.

Cocaine Surface Wipe

Testing Work Surfaces for Traces of Cocaine

In addition to screening employees through fluid tests, companies can now easily check work areas for traces of cocaine using surface drug wipes. These provide visual evidence if the illegal substance has contaminated equipment.

Surface cocaine test wipes offer a rapid and accurate method of detecting cocaine chemical residues. The detection swabs are foil packed for prolonged shelf life without refrigeration.

How cocaine wipe tests work:

Simply wipe the swab over any surface such as desktops, factory machinery, shipping materials or company vehicles where you suspect cocaine exposure. If the swab brushes over even minute cocaine particles, an immediate blue coloration will develop on the test wipe. The color blue clearly indicates the area has been contaminated and requires decontamination cleaning.

The test needs only a tiny sample of residue to react and takes just seconds to confirm whether cocaine is present. Similar wipes can detect other hazardous illicit compounds like methamphetamine or fentanyl if you suspect issues with other non-prescribed substances at your workplace.

Benefits of cocaine surface testing

Proactively sweeping for drug residue helps companies:

  • Identify specific sites being used on-premises so they can be addressed promptly
  • Prevent cross-contamination mishaps through contact with carcinogenic adulterants sometimes used to cut street cocaine
  • Avoid reputation damage from public exposure that illegal activities occurred at your facilities
  • Support employee rehabilitation efforts by proving the breadth of workplace contamination that requires their utmost discretion

The cocaine wipe tests are safe to use, transport and dispose of. However, be sure staff members handling used swabs follow all standard biohazard protocols and documentation procedures outlined in your corporate drug prevention plan.

By adding surface testing to your substance screening toolkit, employers gain a clearer picture of safety risks so they can be controlled methodically. Responsibly confronting the realities of cocaine penetration into professional environments is the first step to creating an ethical culture where such violations are no longer inevitable or overlooked internally.

Taking a position of accountability and care through comprehensive testing paired with adequately funded counselling demonstrates profitable compassion – harmful behaviours become unlikely when everyone feels respected and supported. Integrity, health and safety in the end bolster reputations, recruitment and revenues alike.

Implementing a Company Drug Policy

Experts strongly recommend putting a formal drug and alcohol usage policy in place alongside testing procedures. A contractual policy protects employee rights and provides clear expectations about substance screening requirements. Make sure disciplinary measures and support resources for addiction are explicitly addressed.

To ensure full legal compliance, Zoom Testing offers professional services to help businesses create, expand or audit existing workplace drug policies.

Getting Staff Help for Cocaine Addiction

When cocaine issues arise, focus on getting the affected employees assistance while protecting their privacy. Have information on hand about local counselling programmes and addiction treatment centres.

If testing uncovers wider issues with cocaine abuse in your sector, consider working with trade groups or non-profits to improve access to support services tailored to your workforce’s needs. Demonstrating compassion along with accountability results in better long term outcomes for employees overcoming dependencies.

Workplace cocaine usage may be rising, but the right policies paired with effective testing methods can help companies face this issue head-on. Protect productivity, safety, and lives by taking proactive steps to deter drug misuse at your organisation. Partner with the experts at Zoom Testing to build a robust substance use prevention program customised for your workforce.

The Effects of Cocaine on Work Performance

Cocaine’s short-term sensations of confidence, sociability and alertness may seem beneficial in high pressure work environments. However, chronic use severely impacts judgement, self-control and concentration which jeopardise professional success.

Common issues arising from employee cocaine addiction include:

Increased absenteeism – Recovering from crashes after cocaine binges causes more illness and sick days. Repeated last minute personal emergencies also raise red flags.

Risky behaviour – Impulsiveness, impaired reasoning skills and paranoia from cocaine can lead to verbal outbursts, violence or criminal acts on the job.

Financial issues – Habitual use runs up big debts. Employees may resort to theft, over-billing clients or requesting constant payroll advances.

Missed deadlines – Procrastination, disorganisation and inability to focus make completing projects on schedule near impossible.

Interpersonal conflicts – Cocaine use increases anti-social tendencies like narcissism, irrational suspicions and impatience with co-workers.

Injuries – Decreased coordination and reaction times heighten physical risk factors operating heavy machinery or driving long hauls.

Disclosure leaks – Loose lips share sensitive information which could seriously impact business deals, data privacy, trade secrets or personal relationships.

Quantifying the Business Impact

Calculations indicate that substance abuse among UK employees costs employers over £6 billion annually from decreased productivity alone. Factor in addicts’ higher rates of workplace injuries, errors, fraud and poor decision making and the business risks spell substantial profit losses.

Proactively identifying and treating struggling staff pays dividends through improved attendance, workplace harmony and output quality. One UK company reduced absence by 61% in the first year after implementing drug testing paired with rehab referrals. They recouped their upfront investment nearly five times over through efficiency gains.

While workplace drug policies must balance disciplinary action with support, enabling risky behaviours via lax oversight or expectations hurts companies’ bottom lines. Along with clear testing procedures, make sure comprehensive training educates all staff about strictly separating recreational activities from professional settings.

Aim for a culture focused on achievement where interpersonal accountability and peer support keep performance high all while avoiding stigma around addiction. The most successful leaders turn struggles with dependency into assets by exemplifying compassion and restraint firsthand.

Photo by Adrian Sulyok on Unsplash

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

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