Swansea businesses to start drug testing staff
BUSINESSES in Swansea are being offered the chance to test their staff for drug and alcohol abuse.
City-based firm Atkinson Lewis has announced it is providing Swansea's only drug and alcohol testing drop-in centre, amid growing concern about the level of new-style drugs such as mephedrone, better known as meow meow, across South Wales.
Last year a study by organised crime police taskforce Operation Tarian listed 15 hotspots for use of the drug in Wales, which was topped by Llanelli, followed by Swansea, Bridgend, Newport and Ammanford.
The new testing service follows a Drugs at Work conference held at the University of South Wales last week, which focussed on how employers can deal with staff members who are suspected to be working under the influence of drugs.
The chief executive of Wales's drugs council has backed mandatory drug testing in the workplace but warned against "stigmatisation".
A spokesman for Atkinson Lewis said: "At a time when work is hard to come by, the damaging effect of drugs on our local economy can be devastating.
''Poor reputation, bad customer service, health and safety breaches and absence are all significant risk factors to consider when substance abuse takes place in the workplace," he added.
Atkinson Lewis said many companies had expressed an interest in their service, while many did not know how to go about it.
But it urged all companies to check with their human resources departments to ensure correct policies are in place prior to testing.
Alternatively, it said employers could come to them directly for further advice and guidance.