Synthetic Drug Use Causes Concern in Queensland

October 31, 2014


Drug dealers in the Queensland region of Australia have found a steady market in miners. Police raids over the past 18 months have exposed a lucrative operation in which synthetic drugs have been steadily making its way into the mining community. The combination of young workers making good money creates a market ripe for drug dealers and synthetic drugs including ice and cannabis are becoming increasingly more popular.


According to a survey of coal mines conducted by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, the vast majority of miners are not tested for synthetic drugs. The survey also found that only 17% of the state's coal mines were testing for synthetics including amphetamines and cannabis.


The mining industry is seeking more urine tests and a change in the law that requires consent from the majority of workers.


"Generally in the coal sector it's been very difficult to get workforce agreements to move away from the default testing of saliva testing," Queensland Resources Council director Michael Roche told ABC News.


Unions have long been opposed to urine tests claiming the system is intrusive and can show drug use from days and even weeks earlier, instead of more recent use that could affect work performance.


Andrew Cripps, a Natural Resources and Mines minister said they needed cooperation from the workforce in recognizing the dangers of synthetic drug use both to the workers and for the safety on mine sites.


Amphetamines have long been a concern since miners who work long hours are more likely to use the stimulant. However, amphetamines and other forms of speed have a high rate of abuse and can have a number of side effects that would make a worker unsafe on site.