Blue collar workers on cocaine a worrying trend found by workplace drug testing agency

Source: 1News

Cocaine being used by blue collar workers, and members of older generations abusing prescription medications are worrying trends The Drug Detection Agency has found as it tests in workplaces.

The Drug Detection Agency has been New Zealand’s biggest drug testing company for 13 years, Seven Sharp reported. 

With 3,500 businesses on its books, the agency's founder and CEO Kirk Hardy knows how Kiwis' drug use is changing.

He says 20 years ago the agency's tests covered probably 12 drug classes, but now the standard test in the lab covers around 36 drug classes.

Mr Hardy said methamphetamine and cannabis are both "on the up" and they are still the main drugs being use.

"We’re definitely seeing an increase in cocaine. And it was one drug that was quite white collar. But we are seeing it sneak into blue collar as well," he said.

"We are also seeing with older generations, prescription medications."

For bosses, the reason for testing employees is simple.

"A safe working environment is what we are all about," one employer said.

"All the big clients, all the big land developers, all the big contractors won't accept it. And you have to prove you are on the right side of it."

But no matter the collar colour or the industry, drug testing in workplaces is on the up.

Mr Hardy said we've got a major drug problem in this country, "and we can’t socialise it as acceptable".

A first fail on a drug test doesn't mean you’re fired.

"Not many people get fired these days for drugs. It's another myth. People are given opportunities to change," the employer said.