Concerned that your employee may be using meth? Here are the warning signs of meth use that you should keep an eye out for and how to test for it.
When it comes to illegal drugs, there is no drug quite as infamous as methamphetamine. Known for its horrifying side effects, crippling addiction potential and intense high, methamphetamine has ravaged communities around the world.
This drug has even managed to make its way into the workplace, with employees using the drug to work longer hours and stay awake. In this article, we’ll go over 7 signs of meth use and how to test for the drug if you suspect your employees are using meth.
Signs of Meth Use
Because meth is such a powerful drug, it has a noticeable effect on its users. Some people are better at hiding it than others, but there are some undeniable signs that someone is addicted to meth. These signs relate to not only their behavior but their physical appearance and their mental health as well.
1. Jittery, Hyperactive Behavior
One of the key signs of meth use is jittery, hyperactive behavior. Now some employees are naturally fast workers, but this hyperactive behavior will be noticeably different.
Someone high on meth will work at a break-neck speed, but without much efficiency. For example, an employee will be working at an impressive speed and pace, but their efficiency actually goes down. This is because they can’t focus on one task for long, and may forget about tasks halfway through doing them.
This can also cause a mess and clutter because they lose focus on cleaning up and cast things aside, so if you have a worker who is jumpy, frantic, and messy, he may be abusing meth.
2. Intense Mood Swings
Another common sign of meth abuse is intense mood swings. Getting high on meth can cause mood swings, but people who are addicted to meth are also sleep deprived and food deprived because of the stimulant effect of the drug.
This lack of sleep and food can cause major mood swings, causing people to act insane. A worker might be happy and calm one moment, and crying the next. Or a worker might seem depressed one day, and happy and energetic the next.
Make sure to keep an eye on employees who are experiencing intense mood swings to determine whether it is due to drug abuse or personal circumstances.
3. Aggressive Behavior
In addition to mood swings, meth users are known to experience extreme bouts of anger and frustration. This is because the drug acts as a powerful stimulant and amplifies their feelings of anger or frustration.
Employees may fly off the handle about small things, become suddenly angry without reason, or act out with physical violence such as attacking other employees or destroying company property. If you notice an employee who is becoming increasingly aggressive or menacing, keep an eye out for additional signs of addiction.
4. Odd Behavior
Another worrying sign of meth abuse is odd behavior or talkativeness. With a stimulant as powerful as meth, it can cause people to behave very strangely.
This can include talking to themselves, making odd or unnecessary movements like teeth grinding or facial tics, or talking about strange or nonsensical things. Meth addicts also have a tendency to speak quickly and ramble on about certain things, often repeating the same point over and over again.
If you notice an employee that is behaving strangely or talking about nonsense, make sure to look for other signs of addiction and ask them about their recent changes in behavior.
5. Sores on the Skin
One of the main signs of progressive meth use is the presence of open sores, visible on the arms and face. Meth users scratch at their skin due to intense itchiness from withdrawal and the feeling that there are “bugs” under their skin, creating open sores. They also pick and scratch at these sores due to the impulsive and obsessive behavior created by meth use; they can’t help but pick at the sores in a desperate attempt to heal them faster.
This can turn a minor pimple or scab into a large, gaping sore that can take weeks or even months to heal. These open sores can also get infected, which can lead to further inflammation and discoloration and even hospitalization. Meth users will continue to obsessively pick at these open sores even if they are healing.
If you notice employees that have large, open sores on their face or arms or notice employees picking or scratching at sores on their body, ask them about their condition and whether you can help.
6. Injection Marks
Another obvious sign of meth abuse is injection marks on the arms or hands, also known as “track marks.” These marks are from the repeated intravenous injection of drugs, usually meth or heroin. They appear as darkened areas of skin, often with a pit or “hole” where the needle has been injected multiple times.
Injecting drugs can also cause abscesses under the skin. Abscesses are pockets of injection under the skin and appear as inflamed boils or lumps under the skin. These can cause illness and even death if they aren’t treated or drained properly.
If you notice large, red bumps or lumps on your employee’s skin with what looks like an injection site, make sure they are getting medical attention and issue them a drug test.
7. Meth Mouth
One of the more unsightly and disgusting signs of meth use is “meth mouth.” Meth mouth is a type of tooth decay caused by meth use. When meth users smoke meth, it causes the saliva in their mouths to dry up, which allows bacteria to grow much faster. To get rid of the dryness, many meth users turn to sugary drinks, which causes more bacterial growth and further tooth decay.
Meth mouth will be easy to spot, and unfortunately, easy to smell. A user with meth mouth will have yellowed, rotting teeth, which in some cases turn black or visibly dissolve over time. Tooth decay has a strong, unpleasant scent, and a user with meth mouth will reek of tooth decay in addition to having visible tooth decay.
How to Test for Meth
If your employees show signs of meth abuse, you have to issue a drug test. This can be done by using an oral swab, a urine test, or a hair follicle test.
An oral swab can detect meth use as soon as ten minutes after use and for as long as four days after a person has used. Simply swab the inside of the mouth with a cotton swab, place the swab in a tube, and send it to a facility for testing.
For a urine test, it can detect drug use as soon as two hours after use and will detect drug use for up to five days after. You can purchase these tests from local drug stores, or have a drug testing facility perform the test.
A hair follicle test is much more accurate, but also more expensive. It should only be used to detect drug use in employees who are suspected of using drugs weeks or months prior. A hair follicle test can detect drug use for up to 90 days after use. These tests are rare, and you’ll need a facility to perform this test for you.
Fortune Favors the Prepared
Now that you know what to look for when it comes to signs of meth use, you are better prepared to protect you and your employees from potential drug abusers and workplace accidents.
If you have any questions about what to do if an employee fails a drug test or other questions about workplace drug use, please visit our blog. Are you looking to test your employees visit our site for Meth Drug Test Kits.