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The Sneaky Ways Illegal Drugs are Being Brought into the Workplace

You may wonder how someone can just shoot up or snort an illicit substance while at work. How do they not get caught? Doesn’t anyone see them do it? As it turns out, it’s surprisingly easy to smuggle drugs into work when you’re bringing them in in the forms of lip balm, gummy bears, and cookies.

Amy Ronshausen, the interim deputy director for both the Drug Free America Foundation and Save Our Society from Drugs, recently delivered this news to a Wake Up Naples conference.

Employers can be completely oblivious to what is going on right under their noses, whether drug transactions or consumption occurs in break rooms, back rooms, or bathrooms, and with workplace statistics such as these, that is more than a little disconcerting:

  • Nearly 70 percent of those who use drugs are employed.
  • One in four employed Americans between the ages of 18 and 35 has used illegal drugs at some point in their lives.
  • A third of employed individuals know of drug sales that have gone on at their place of business.

As you may expect, the leading illegal drug being abused in the workplace is marijuana, though cocaine and opioids are no strangers to the business world either. The reason why marijuana is so popular is because it is increasingly being grown right here on American soil, rather than being imported, and its legalization is increasing, what with it being flat-out legal in four states, legalized for medical purposes in 26 states, as well as the District of Columbia, and decriminalized in 17 states.

And today’s marijuana is not the same as the marijuana that was passed around by your parents at Woodstock. Today’s marijuana is significantly more potent than it was back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and it has also increased the number of forms it can take, specifically in food, where it can show up in candy, cookies, mints, soda, and even granola bars.

These food items are easy enough to sneak into work, but those who prefer to take stronger concentrations of the drug can hide it in containers that won’t immediately attract attention from co-workers, like capsules or drops. Add to that the fact that marijuana is being consumed rather than smoked, and it’s easy to understand how it is so simple to conceal. When you don’t walk into the office smelling like pot, no one is going to assume you’re consuming it - particularly if they are unaware of the different forms in which marijuana can be consumed.

It can be just as difficult for employers to spot the abuse of other drugs in the workplace, such as prescription drugs. Nearly two million Americans are addicted to painkillers, but when it’s so easy to pop a pill, or when you see a prescription bottle and think nothing of it because you assume it is being consumed appropriately, then it’s understandable why an employer might just walk on by if he or she sees a pill bottle on an employee’s desk.

No one watches their employees or fellow co-workers closely enough to determine just how many pills the employee took that day, and that’s what makes it so easy to disguise one’s drug abuse while at work.