RTS: The Dangers of Psychoactive Substances

RTS: The Dangers of Psychoactive Substances

Psychoactive substances, formerly known as legal highs, are substances which produce the same or similar effects as many illegal drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine. With many psychoactive substances it is extremely difficult to know their potency and therefore how they will affect the user.

They are divided into four main groups:

Sedatives – Cause reduced concentration and slowing of reactions, leading user to feel physically unsteady and lethargic.

Hallucinogenic – These substances cause psychedelic reactions which can lead the user to act erratically, putting their own safety at risk.

Stimulants – Substance temporarily causes increase in alertness and energy, while also putting a strain on the nervous system.

Synthetic Cannabinoids – Large doses can lead to life-threatening intoxication. Also effects the central nervous system causing seizures, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and increased body temperature.

Incidents

Last month two men were arrested and jailed for four and a half years for selling psychoactive substances. The offences were committed in Scotland and eight of the men’s customers needed hospital treatment after taking the substances.

Free samples and loyalty cards were used by the men selling the psychoactive substances and two users were left in comas after taking a substance known as Psyclone. Court was told that the shops took in as much as £2,500 in sales every day.

The sister of a man who died from taking psychoactive substances said it changed her brother “mentally and physically.” BBC Scotland was told that he started dabbling with psychoactive substances because he believed they were legal. “Some of them were a substitute of heroin, others to mimic the effects of cannabis. He became very withdrawn with the family and just wanted to stay away.”

 

Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we reacted to the issues caused by psychoactive substances by releasing the world’s first Synthetic Cannabinoids (JWH/AM) and ‘Bath Salt’s’ (MPDV) tests in 2012. This enables companies to test for popular types of psychoactive substances and showed that it was possible to detect these substances.

However as new psychoactive substances emerged new tests also had to be created and next generation Synthetic Cannabinoids tests (UR144 and JWH250) were released in 2013. These tests represented a milestone in the fight against the highly dangerous psychoactive substances and provided a way for laboratories and companies to stay on top of the developing drug trends.

Psychoactive Substances we currently screen for;

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, in the endless pursuit of creating innovative tests for new and emerging psychoactive substances, our expertise sets us apart from the rest of the industry. We will continue to develop our test menus and grow our range of tests.

For more information contact us today at testingservices@randox.com.

 

 

 

 

 


Randox Testing Services: The difference between CBD Oil, Cannabis Oil and Hemp Oil

CBD Oil, Cannabis Oil and Hemp Oil are naturally produced from the plant Cannabis Sativa. This article will aim to distinguish between the different variations, and highlights differences in their use, abuse and legal standing.

Cannabis is the name given to the common drug of abuse, made from various parts of the Cannabis Sativa plant that contain a high level of a chemical called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).  THC is the chemical responsible for most of cannabis’s psychological effects. It stimulates cells in the brain to release dopamine and interferes with how information is processed in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for forming new memories. Strains of Cannabis Sativa are specifically bred for their high THC content in resinous glands on their flowers and some leaves.

Cannabis Oil contains a high level of THC and if administered can result in psychoactive effects.   There is a growing movement to legalise THC in the form of oils or capsules for medicinal use (pain relief), however, like cannabis itself, it is currently illegal to possess, or supply cannabis oil in the UK.

CBD (or cannabidiol), like THC, is another chemical component extracted from the Cannabis Sativa plant.  Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and does not produce a ‘high’.  CBD is derived from a specific hemp strain that is high in CBD and low in THC and is extracted from the whole plant (and not just the seed like hemp seed oil).  The use of CBD oil is becoming widespread for its reported health-giving benefits. It is perfectly legal to use (because it contains negligible amounts of THC) and can be purchased from health food shops and on-line.

However, it is also sometimes (mistakenly) referred to as ‘cannabis oil’ which causes confusion.

Hemp is a fast-growing strain of Cannabis Sativa specifically bred for its fibre (for textile use), oils (including CBD oil) and nutritional benefits among its ever-expanding range of uses.  However, hemp is bred to be low in THC.  Hemp seed oil is acquired by pressing the hemp seeds only and contains neither THC nor CBD.  Hemp oil is perfectly legal and you may find it in some health food products or even beauty products.

Effects of Cannabis

Cannabis is the most commonly abused drug in the UK and can produce a range of side-effects including an increased risk of developing a psychotic illness. For an extensive list of the side-effects of regular cannabis use download our free educational resource: http://www.randoxtestingservices.com/download/Effects-of-Cannabis-Poster.pdf

About Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services is a market leader in the drug and alcohol testing industry. Our expertise is relied upon by a range of leading safety-critical companies across the world.

We pride ourselves on helping our customers improve the health and safety of their working environment through helping them implement a comprehensive substance misuse policy. As experts in our field we ensure that we are aware of current drug trends and issues that are affecting society.

Contact us today at testingservices@randox.com or call 028 9445 1011 to speak with one of our experts.

 

 

 


Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Medico-legal Market

Medico-legal testing for drugs and alcohol may be required by various professional bodies involved in child custody cases, care proceedings or child protection cases. In cases regarding divorce and children, a dispute may arise during the process of discussions involving the custody of children. In these cases drug and alcohol testing may be sought if there has been a substance abuse claim against a parent fighting for custody or visitation. In cases relating to child protection, social services may seek drug and alcohol testing if child welfare claims have been made regarding suspected substance misuse.

Normally in medico-legal cases a hair sample would be tested as it provides the longest detection window.

 

Why is Drug and Alcohol Testing in Medico-legal Cases Important?

Drug and alcohol testing is important to ensure child protection from the detrimental effects of parental substance misuse and to ensure they have a quality of life they deserve. In addition it is also important to enable parents the opportunity to get the help and support they need and begin rehabilitation treatment.

Doing the right thing by the child is the main priority, and where possible parent and child relationships are sought to be maintained. Drug and alcohol testing assists in these efforts and in such cases abstinence monitoring testing may be required to assess a parent’s recovery e.g. if a visitation case is being reassessed.

 

Our Expertise

At Randox Testing Services we provide drug and alcohol testing to all professionals within the family law and medico-legal sector. Our hair drug testing service utilises accredited testing methods and is made more cost-effective through utilising patented testing methods developed by Randox.

We understand the impact a positive result can have on a parent, child, and extended family and ensure results of the highest precision and accuracy. With over 35 years’ experience in the diagnostic industry we have gained reputation as a trusted provider.

Our drug and alcohol testing solutions are flexible and can be tailored to our customer needs with a choice of testing methods. We offer a comprehensive drugs of abuse test menu and our service also includes expert witness reporting where applicable.

 

Contact Us

To speak to one of our experts about hair drug testing contact enquiries@randoxtesting.com or call +44 (0) 161 741 2760. We work with companies within the medico-legal sector along with a wide range of workplaces and also private individuals.

For further information on RTS, or to arrange interviews, please contact the Randox PR team via email: randoxpr@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413


Addressing Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace

Within any business, companies seek to outline clear methods in which employees should act and behave whilst carrying out their roles. These rules are outlined in company workplace policies. Every business – no matter which industry it operates in – should have well-documented and comprehensive workplace policies and procedures in place.

According to the Employment Law Handbook, a workplace policy is a set of rules and principles that aims to provide guidance to managers and workers in how to behave in the workplace. They can be in place for numerous different issues – bullying, harassment, internet use, health and safety are just a few that can be implemented.

Health and Safety

As mentioned above, health and safety is an important aspect of any workplace policy. The health and well-being of the working community is of utmost importance for sustainable development. Specifically, a drug and alcohol policy is a key part of the overall health and safety policy within a company. Alcohol and drugs through their effects on health, safety, work performance and absenteeism can jeopardise productivity, deny businesses the leading edge and curtail competitiveness. Effectively implemented drug and alcohol policies will help employers in the legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees.

The need for a Drug and Alcohol Policy

Drugs and alcohol misuse can have dangerous consequences within the workplace. All organisations can benefit from an agreed policy that applies to all staff. There are wide range of statistics available to highlight the worrying impact that drugs and alcohol can have on individuals. In 2016, it was estimated that £7 billion was lost in productivity through unemployment and sickness. Furthermore, 10.8 million adults in England are drinking at levels that pose some risk to their health. A survey carried out by UK based Health and Safety Consultants Protecting.co.uk showed that; from 2,600 workers in office, factory, retail and the public sector, 85% admit to being drunk at work in the last year; not including the Christmas party. 28% of those surveyed admitted using drugs at work, including NPS (formerly legal highs) cannabis and other illegal substances.

From a legal point of view, employers have a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of employees. Also, under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to assess the risks to the health and safety of employees. If an employer knowingly allows an employee under the influence of drug misuse to continue working and his/her behaviour places the employee or others at risk, they may face prosecution.

 Advantages of having Policies in place

Having well-developed policies and procedures can provide a range of benefits to an organisation. An effectively implemented drug and alcohol policy will ensure a clear understanding within the workplace of the rules relating to drugs and alcohol. It will also provide a greater awareness in workplaces of the effects of drugs and alcohol an consequently early recognition. Furthermore, it ensures that the necessary structures and procedures are in place should a problem arise. An up to date policy will also provide assurance that key staff have been trained to understand the issues involved and have the necessary skills to deal with any problems should they arise.

How can Randox Testing Services help?

At Randox Testing Services we offer a comprehensive consultancy service to help employers create, an effective substance misuse policy. By providing this service we offer practical advice, guidance and support in composing a substance misuse policy.

Our confidential policy review service provides assistance to employers with an existing substance misuse policy. With this service, we help to modify existing documents to ensure it is legally viable and can withstand challenge in court.

For more information on our comprehensive consultancy service, visit our website: www.randoxtestingservices.com or contact us by emailing testingservices@randox.com.

To read more on workplace policies and their importance within an organisation, click here.

 


The Importance of a Workplace Substance Misuse Policy

What is a workplace substance misuse policy?

Many organisations implement a policy that outlines the expectations they have concerning the misuse of drugs and/or alcohol and how this can affect performance and safety in the workplace. This can often be referred to as a substance misuse policy.

Employers hold the responsibility to ensure employees are fully aware of the company’s rules, regulations, testing and disciplinary procedures. Fundamentally, this is to guarantee complete workplace safety. The policy itself holds a vital importance providing employees with the knowledge of the standards expected of them in the workplace.

To ensure transparency of information, it is imperative that the policy is written in a clear, comprehensive manner. This should allow them to understand without confusion or misinterpretation the implications the organisation has in place for users who misuse substances.

Why is this policy so important for businesses to implement?

Alcohol and / or drug use increases the chances of problems occurring in the workplace. For example, studies have found that employees with alcohol problems are 2.7 times more likely to have an accident whilst at work.

Some of the main issues that associated with substance misuse in the workplace are:

  • Absenteeism – It’s estimated that there are 17 million lost days of work per year due to substance misuse.
  • Low productivity levels – Employees may lose focus in different tasks and become de-motivated.
  • Inappropriate behaviour – Some cases of substance abuse may lead to inappropriate actions or in extreme cases crime

Evidence suggests that many people who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse are in employment. Studies show that 25% of registered drug addicts are in full-time employment and that 3.3% of all adults in England and Wales aged 16 – 59 classified as frequent users.

Significant issues such as these provide growing concerns for employers to put in place a workplace substance misuse policy to guarantee the welfare of all stakeholders. Under the Health & Safety Act 1974, employers have a duty to ensure the safety of their employees is met to all principles. Introducing an effective workplace policy is a key part in maintaining these standards.

The importance of a workplace policy for drugs and alcohol can benefit employers by:

  • Building relationships with employees by showing them there is support available.
  • Policies can raise awareness of issues in the business and can encourage staff members to take action if they feel they have a problem.
  • Its importance can reduce the number of sick employees, it can also increase staff turnover & productivity levels.
  • Employers who implement a workplace policy can also see a rise in efficiency, improved staff relationship, communication and improved corporate image and in some cases customer relations.

 

What we at Randox Testing Services can do:

Randox Testing Services is a market leader in the drug and alcohol testing industry. Our expertise is relied upon by safety-critical companies all over the world. We provide complete drug and alcohol testing solutions to a range of blue chip companies across multiple industries including aviation, transport, construction, maritime, retail and occupational health to name a few.

Our expert consultancy service allows employers to create an effective drug and alcohol misuse policy. We offer comprehensive advice, guidance and support in composing an effective policy and explaining best procedures and testing methods to use. We also provide assistance to employers with an existing substance misuse policy, helping to modify existing documents to ensure they are legally viable and can withstand challenge in court.

To ensure clear communication of any policy changes, our experts can come to your workplace and present the policy to your staff. By having a third party explain the policy employers can ensure all the benefits are communicated effectively. This way staff do not feel like they are being victimised or persecuted, but know their employer is looking after their workplace wellbeing.

Combining our consultancy service with our drug and alcohol testing service and / or point of care products, employers can find a complete testing solution from Randox Testing Services.

For more information on our products and services call +44 (0) 28 9445 1011, email, testingservices@randox.com or visit our website www.randoxtestingservices.com

 

About Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we offer complete drug and alcohol testing solutions to a wide range of industries across the globe. We work with companies to help create and implement effective workplace testing policies that suit their needs and budget.

To support our customers our additional services include training and education courses as well as policy reviews and consultancy. Our experts are at hand to discuss any testing requirements you may have. To get in touch email testingservices@randox.com today.

 

 

 


Drink and Drug Drive Limits UK and Ireland

As part of Randox Testing Services‘ ongoing efforts to raise awareness around issues related to drugs and alcohol we will be running a drink and drug drive campaign in the first two weeks of December. This campaign will detail the different drink and drug drive limits across the UK and Ireland and highlight how these limits differ from border to border.

Drink Drive Limits UK & Ireland

As can be seen in the table below, the drink drive limits across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are the same whereas Scotland has a lower limit. In December 2014 the limit was reduced in order to bring Scotland in line with most other European countries. The drink drive limit in the Republic of Ireland is the same as Scotland.

General Public
Breath Blood Urine
Ireland 22µg 50mg 67mg
Scotland 22µg 50mg 67mg
Rest of UK 35µg 80mg 107mg

*Value is volume of Alcohol per 100ml of Sample

The limits above apply to the general public, however across Ireland lower limits have been set for professional drivers:

Professional Drivers
Breath Blood Urine
Ireland 9µg 20mg 27mg

*Value is volume of Alcohol per 100ml of Sample

In the UK the Railways Transportation Safety Bill was passed introducing these lower limits for HGV drivers, pilots, train drivers etc. This bill is active in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Ireland replicated the UK by introducing this in Ireland’s Road Traffic Act 2010. Scotland currently don’t have regulations in place so the drink drive limits are the same regardless of occupation.

Drug Drive Limits UK & Ireland

Section 5A Road Traffic Act was passed in the UK on 2nd March 2015 which requires only the presence of drugs above a specified limit can provoke criminal proceedings against a driver. Roadside swab tests are currently being utilised across England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

Roadside tests are used to detect the presence of four different types of drugs, the main two being cannabis and cocaine. The roadside tests only show a positive or negative reading that identifies traces of these drugs in the users system. If traces are shown, a blood sample is taken to identify the limit of the substance in a person.

If a roadside test doesn’t pick up traces of a substance an arrest can still be made if police have strong concerns that a driver may be under the influence of a substance they cannot detect at roadside. A blood sample is then taken for a more in-depth analysis to see if there are any drugs in the drivers system. The Scottish Government won’t have roadside testing put in place until 2019. It is still illegal to drive under the influence of drugs in Scotland and arrests can still be made.

Unlike alcohol, there are no separate drug drive limits for the general public and professional drivers:

Drug Driving Limits
Cannabis Cocaine Heroin
Ireland 1µg 10µg 5µg
England and Wales 2µg 10µg 5µg

*Values are amount of substance per 1 litre of blood

The Scottish Government confirmed drug-driving limits and roadside testing will be introduced in Scotland in 2019. Currently in Scotland and Northern Ireland it is illegal to drive if impaired by drugs and when police suspect a motorist of drug-driving, they carry out a field impairment test.

This method is still used in the UK and Ireland for drivers under the influence of other drugs not picked up in a swab test.  If the individual fails this they can be arrested and taken for a doctor’s examination to see if the person is impaired to the extent that they are unfit to drive. Then a blood sample is taken to prove if these drugs are in their system.

For more information on these limits follow us on Twitter @RandoxTesting to avail of the information and resources we will be sharing over the first 2 weeks in December.

You can also access our download wall which includes a range of educational posters, brochures and resources by visiting http://www.randoxtestingservices.com/downloads/

 

About Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we offer complete drug and alcohol testing solutions to a wide range of industries across the globe. We work with companies to help create and implement effective workplace testing policies that suit their needs and budget.

To support our customers our additional services include training and education courses as well as policy reviews and consultancy. Our experts are at hand to discuss any testing requirements you may have. To get in touch email testingservices@randox.com today.


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