Alarming drug and alcohol consumption rates in mining and agriculture industries

A new research describes a disturbing trend in alcohol and drug consumption among miners and farm workers with nearly 25 percent of miners having a drink before going to work, while 10 percent of farm workers admitting to routinely having a “breaky bong”.

Natasha Jagar from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation told ABC Rural that it was a problem in many sectors.

“The mining industry has a work hard, play hard attitude so at the end of a hard day they like to have a cold beer and relax,” said Ms. Jagar.

“But it’s about how their use of alcohol or drugs at night time after their shift can have a flow-on effect the next day.”

Ms. Jagar revealed that workers are avoiding drug tests by coming to work late or using drugs that could not be picked up.

“The testers are there at a certain time every day, and drug users know what time that is so they find ways around the drug testing,” she said.

Coal Services, a health and safety organisation tested over 14,000 workers last financial year and recorded 217 positive drug test results.

“When you’re working in a hazardous industry, do you want to be impaired or working with someone who may be drug impaired who may jeopardize your own health and safety,” said Managing director Lucy Flemming.

Dr. Trent Watson from Ethos, said drug use may be contributing to the growing problem of fatigue among miners.

“You get people saying ‘I drank six beers last night and I’m getting up early to pee, I’m getting dry mouth.. I’m getting eight hours of comatose sleep but I’m waking up feeling awful.’”

He is urging family, friends, and colleagues to help when they see someone fatigued.

“We want spouses, family, and friends to take that action like they do when they’re behind the wheel,” said Dr. Watson.

“We want people in hazardous work places doing exactly the same.”

Ms. Jagar said alcohol intake is contributing to obesity and that people should be aware of the amount of calories in their drinks.

“There are the same amount of calories in two rum and cokes as there are in a Big Mac,” she said.

“Now you talk to any guy, they could easily down eight rum and cokes on a night out, but would they really have four Big Macs?”

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