Ice use is rife in Newcastle’s building and construction industry

An article in the Newcastle Herald reports that the use of Ice is “rife” particularly in the building and construction industry. A Newcastle addiction doctor, Dr David Outridge has treated a growing number of trade and construction workers using crystal methamphetamine via his work in addiction medicine.

“If 10 guys are wearing high-vis shirts in some of these industries, and you ask how many are on ice, I would say you’d get at least two” he said.

Dr Outridge said that the drug was also favored by many fly in, fly out workers.

Dr Ken Pitt of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) at Flinders University said construction was an industry group that had developed high rates of methamphetamine use. “The National Drug Strategy Household Survey indicates that it is about 5.2 per cent across the whole of the construction industry, there is about 2.1 per cent in the general population” says Dr Pitt.

“I do agree that the use of ice is likely to be higher in regional areas – especially large regional areas such as Newcastle – where there may be a lot of construction work going on…. It is a problem {which} the industry is making strides to address it”

He said workers unions had agreed to onsite random drug testing – now part of the building code.

The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) rejected suggestions of an ice problem in the industry.

“This is a problem across the whole community. The construction industry has very serious procedures in place for anyone who comes to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol” says, CFMEC National Construction Secretary, Dave Noonan.

Read the full article here. 

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