The crackdown on abuse

A £1m hi-tech business is leading the campaign to end drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace.

CSI provides services to firms all over the North-East. It employs 18 people from its base at the North East Technology Park in Sedgefield where it carries out laboratory analysis.

Its science director Dr Jaydene Halliday highlighted the work being done by the company at the recent Tees Valley Business Summit, and stressed that the fight against drug abuse in the workplace must go on.

Dr Halliday said the firm was expanding and taking on more apprentices as the demand for its services increased.

Construction sites and offshore firms are particularly keen to use the business which can offer services such as pre-employment tests, workplace audits, random tests, training packages, and mobile testing services.

She said CSI did get business from the Hartlepool area as well as nationally. “We will go anywhere,” she added.

“In other countries, this is something that is happening all the time and it is starting to become more prevalent over here.”

“The problem is that, if as an employer, you are aware of a drug problem, you are actually responsible for that.”

She said it was important for companies to take action both to sift out any problems and to maintain drug-free environments where firms were already on top of the situation.”

Testing can be done in many ways including samples of urine and hair - and in a way that CSI can work out whether people have had drugs in their system at any time in the last three months.

Experts at CSI say statistics have been produced, showing 76 per cent of drug users are in full-time employment.

Alcohol is expected to cost industry £6.4billion a year, mainly numbers of sick days taken.