Industry workers go to great lengths to avoid drug detection
SYNTHETIC drugs in industrial towns such as Gladstone are rife, according to the Australian Drug Detection Agency.
And there is no length users will not go to to avoid a positive test.
Mandatory drug tests in oil, mining and gas industries are conjointly associated to the highest users of synthetic drugs in Australia.
Peter Croskerry from the ADDA spoke to an audience on Friday about the lengths such users will go to in order to prevent a positive sample and the consequent loss of employment.
Protein shakes, blaming a positive test on the consumption of an orange and poppy-seed muffin or concealing a bleach soaked tissue to detoxify a urine sample are common ploys used to circumvent a drug test.
None of which are effective any longer.
Drugs are rife in communities. Doctors, lawyers... a conventional idea of a drug user does not exist any more.
The most extreme is attaching a fake penis called a "whizzinator".
The device hooks around the waist with a repository section which stores liquid, either a clean urine sample or commonly, apple juice.
Mr Croskerry said synthetic drug users would go to any level to avoid detection.
"Communities believe in the misnomer that a druggie can be spotted from a mile away," he said.
"That's just not the case anymore. Drugs are rife in communities. Doctors, lawyers... a conventional idea of a drug user does not exist any more."
Mr Croskerry also emphasised the serious consequences, including addiction, that was associated with synthetic substance abuse.
His message at the seminar was that if people take synthetic drugs to evade drug testing, they can and will be caught.
An eager audience consisting of employers, community service providers and the Gladstone public gathered to educate themselves on the tools available to detect a drug marketed as "undetectable".
Tracing drugs such as synthetic cannabinoids once posed a source of frustration for employers and authorities.
No longer is this the case.
Mr Croskerry outlined the specialised drug detection utensils that can accurately and positively identify synthetic drugs in an individual's bloodstream and urine.
For industries who undertake regular drug screening tests in the interest of maintaining Workplace Health and Safety, it is a necessary breakthrough.
Urine testing, as completed by the Australian Drug Detection Agency completes two samples, which are able to determine a conclusive result of the specific substance.
Mr Croskerry outlined the testing procedure for synthetic drugs, where two samples are shipped to the Mater Hospital in Brisbane for thorough examination.
Nothing good about fake substances says expert
SYNTHETIC drugs, profitably marketed as a safe and legal high is anything but.
The designer drugs, first conceived to separate THC from cannabis, has erupted into a billion-dollar industry.
Indicators of someone experiencing a high from synthetic cannabis include excessive sweating, the inability to speak, restlessness and aggression.
Immediate effects include tremors, disorientation, a numbness or tingling feeling or seizures and rapid heart rate, as high as 110-150 beats per minute.
"If you've got a heart defect without knowing, you could easily end up in an intensive care unit," said Mr Croskerry.
In fact, last year, 12 deaths in Australia were linked to drug consumption.
Although effects vary in every user, long-term ramifications include psychosis, anxiety, depression, a loss of memory and habituation.
- Synthetic cannabinoids eg Spice, K2, Northern Lights etc
- Synthetic cathinones eg "Bath Salts"