Most people have had too much to drink at
least once in their lives.
? Unfortunately, people don’t always recognize the danger
of drinking alcohol… or using drugs. — They start out thinking that they are
in complete control… only to find themselves ruled by
the substances that they use.
? The term “substance abuse” can mean: — The overuse of alcohol.
— Misuse of over-the-counter medications and
prescription drugs. — Use of illegal drugs.
— “Huffing” chemicals that produce noxious vapors,
such as solvents, lighter fluid and glue. — Eating “magic mushrooms” and other toxic
plants. ? Substances that produce a “high” affect
how the central nervous system functions.
— Depressants, such as alcohol, marijuana and
tranquilizers, slow down brain activity. — Stimulants, including cocaine, crack and
methamphetamine, speed it up. — Narcotic analgesics, such as heroin, morphine
and OxyContin numb the senses.
— Hallucinogens like LSD alter the way that the brain
processes information. When
people think of substance abuse, they often
picture an addict living on the street.
— But the fact is that most abusers have jobs.
— They are frequently able to conceal their problem
from their employers, coworkers and even their families. 3
? Alcohol is by far the most commonly abused of all drugs.
— In the United States alone there are over 50 million
binge drinkers. — Nearly half of all serious workplace accidents
are caused by people drinking on the job.
— And 25,000 people die each year in alcohol-related vehicle crashes!
? Impairment starts with the first drink! — And after only a few drinks it’s extremely
unsafe to operate vehicles or machinery of any type.
? A person who is drunk may act irrationally, have
emotional outbursts… even become violent. — Although no one should be allowed behind
the wheel while they are intoxicated, it may not be
safe for you to try and get their keys.
— Notify your supervisor if a coworker who appears to
be under the influence is attempting to drive (call the
police if you are not on the job). ? Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal
drug, and is second only to alcohol in its frequency of
abuse. ? Like alcohol, marijuana is a depressant.
This makes it unsafe for a user to be working because marijuana:
— Impairs short-term memory. — Reduces the ability to concentrate.
— Affects coordination. — Slows reaction time.
? As with most illegal drugs, marijuana has a cumulative
effect. Over time, heavy users: — Develop a noticeable reduction in their
ability to function safely.
— Tend to lose ambition. — Often suffer from paranoia.
— Develop negative personality traits that can hurt their
chances for career advancement.4 ? People who smoke marijuana often drink alcohol
to increase the “high.”
— When a person is “doubly impaired” they are much
more likely to be involved in an accident. ? Combining drugs can also lead to an overdose.
— For instance, consuming alcohol with strong depressants, such as barbiturates and tranquilizers,
can be fatal. ? In the workplace, the most commonly overlooked
depressants are the chemicals that you may use every
day. — Breathing in fumes from aerosol cans,
glue or gasoline can cause immediate, irreversible
damage to your brain, lungs and respiratory tract.
— You have to be especially careful when working
around these substances, because it can be easy to
“get hooked” on the vapors and not even know it.