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MEDIA RELEASE 05 May 2014

New drug testing clinic opens in Boggabri
A new drug testing clinic is opening in Boggabri on Wednesday May 7 to provide on- the-spot drug testing services for the local mining industry in the Northwest.

It will be operated by Frontline Diagnostics a leading workplace drug testing agency, and will employ 5 trained technicians.

Frontline Diagnostics services include: complete screening and testing with results analysis and concise reporting; policy consulting and procedure development support for regulating alcohol and other drugs at the workplace; education workshops and training; purpose-built mobile clinics to screen employees in safe, hygienic and private surroundings.

Managing Director of Frontline Diagnostics, Michael White, said the opening of the clinic will provide an important service and although it will predominantly test mine site visitors such as tradesmen who do not have an up-to-date testing certificate, it will also test samples collected at local mines as part of the normal ongoing drug testing.

"If these tradesmen cannot be tested locally they cannot go on the site and have to travel back to Newcastle to get their certificate up to date.

"Mines can be dangerous workplaces at the best of times, but when employees are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the risk of accident, injury or worse can be dramatically increased," he said.

The recent release of the Australian Crime Commission's annual Illicit Drug Data Report showed that there was a drug-related arrest on average every six minutes in Australia, the highest rate on record.

The report says that law enforcement agencies made unprecedented hauls of amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and other drugs at the country's borders, as well as making more than 100,000 drug-related arrests.

"The increase in arrests suggests that drug use in this country is on the rise, which paints a concerning picture, particularly for mine workers and as a result we are expecting on increase in the number of workers who test positive," said Michael White.

"Up to 75% of people who take drugs go to work, and in the case of mining, these same people can be operating heavy machinery, driving vehicles, and working in confined spaces with others. They are not only putting themselves at risk, but are also posing the threat of harm to others. Ensuring a drug-safe workplace will eliminate that risk and reduce the chance of injury," he said.

The good news is that the Australian Mining Industry is at the forefront of Australian workplace safety with regard to drug-safe workplaces.

"Currently about 70 per cent of Australia's mines have drug-safe workplace programs in place following the introduction of the Mine Health and Safety Act in 2004. The Act stipulates that mines should introduce a policy or at least address the issue of drugs in the workplace.

Michael White said Frontline Diagnostics has worked with about 80 mines since its foundation in 1999, and said that mines which have introduced a drug-safe workplace program have had a significant decline in the rates of people testing positive.

"In our experience, mines with a proper drug-safe workplace policy and regular drug testing have about four per cent of their staff testing positive to drug and alcohol screening. This is in comparison to 17 to 20 per cent for mines which have not introduced a policy or testing. These mines attract drug users because staff are generally aware of which mines do not enforce a policy," he said.

Michael White said Frontline Diagnostics got astounding results when the company worked with a series of mines in NSW to run 7,000 tests in a year. "At the beginning of the year, 17 per cent of the mines staff tested positive to our drug and alcohol screening. By the end of the 12 months, only 1.8 per cent tested positive. This is a huge decrease," he said.

Background - Frontline Diagnostics
Frontline Diagnostics was established in NSW in 1999 to provide Australian industry with a complete solution for the detection, management and control of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace.

The company was founded by Managing Director Michael White who, prior to setting up Frontline Diagnostics, had worked with a business partner in pharmaceutical promotions for 15 years. Michael was unaware that his colleague was a heroin addict until he overdosed and passed away after 12 years of using the drug. It was then that Michael decided to work towards creating a drug-safe Australia. Using his background in pharmaceuticals, he started Frontline Diagnostics to provide a testing and screening service as well as assistance in policy development for companies to lessen the impact of drug and alcohol use in the workplace.

Frontline Diagnostics is the first drug and alcohol screening service to be accredited to sections of the Australian Standard AS4308:2008 for collection and on-site screening by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA).

Frontline Diagnostics employs 32 people as well as contractors around Australia and the South Pacific and it has, to this date, assisted hundreds of Australian companies develop a drug-safe work environment for their employees.

Services & products
Frontline Diagnostics offers a comprehensive range of products and services designed to ensure management, staff and unions feel comfortable with the development and implementation of a Drug-Safe Workplace program.

Frontline Diagnostics services include: complete screening and testing with results analysis and comprehensive reporting; policy development support for regulating alcohol and other drugs at the workplace; education workshops and training; purpose-built mobile clinics plus referral to accredited employee assistance providers.

The company understands the possible issues related to a shift in the culture of an organisation when a Drug-Safe Workplace program is introduced and offers various education and awareness programs including: alcohol & other drug awareness workshop, new employees and contractors drug awareness program, fit for work assessment (for supervisors & managers) as well as OH&S committee consultation.

For more information about Frontline Diagnostics visit www.frontlinediagnostics.com.au.

Released for Frontline Diagnostics by Dennis Rutzou Public Relations.

For additional information contact Dennis Rutzou, phone 02 9413 8424 or
0411 510 888; or Anna Caswell 040 233 6082

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