Part II – Signs & Symptoms of Drug Use in the Workplace
Part II – Signs & Symptoms of Drug Use in the Workplace

Part II – Signs & Symptoms of Drug Use in the Workplace

Blog and Opinions Red Slashes Jun 28, 2016
By: CannAmm Staff

Two weeks ago, we published Part I of this blog talking about the dangers of drug use in the workplace, and introducing you to some of the main drugs of abuse. This week we will pick up where we left off, and discuss the passive and direct indicators for each of these drugs.

Passive and Direct Indicators

You may already be aware of the different drugs available on the street, but how are their symptoms classified? Well, there are two types of indicators that help in this determination: passive and direct. Passive indicators include the person’s behaviour, appearance, productivity, and interpersonal relationships. Direct indicators include odour, speech, gait and balance, breath, eyes, and/or unusual or uncharacteristic actions.

Below you will see a table consisting of six different drugs alongside their passive and direct indicators. The drugs listed include marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines & methamphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). Of course, this table does not list all indicators but instead gives a base of information. For more information about these indicators, contact CannAmm today.

Drugs of Abuse and Their Indicators


Passive Indicators

Direct Indicators


  • Slowed reaction
  • Judgment errors
  • Isolation from co-workers
  • Confusion, forgetfulness, unclear thinking
  • Depression, paranoia, hallucinations
  • Reduced productivity, absenteeism
  • Restless
  • Loss of memory
  • Rolling paper/pipes
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Lethargy of speech
  • Apathy and fatigue


  • Drugs & paraphernalia
  • Reduced or erratic productivity
  • Decreased impulse controls
  • Decreased interest in hobbies/endeavors
  • Increased risky decision making
  • Illogical actions & responses
  • Unnatural weight loss
  • Increased energy
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Paranoia
  • Frequent nasal run
  • Rapid speech
  • Aggressive behaviour

Amphetamines & Methamphetamines

  • Drugs & paraphernalia
  • Drastic decline in work performance
  • Unable to retain new memories
  • Illogical actions & responses
  • Continued decline in fluid/smooth motor functions
  • Drastic decrease of interest in personal hobbies & endeavors
  • Unnatural weight loss
  • Delayed/choppy speech
  • Dilated pupils
  • Inability to keep still
  • Twitching
  • Skin picking, leading to open sores


  • Drugs & paraphernalia
  • Consistent fatigue & lethargy
  • Lowered motivation
  • Delayed decision making
  • Unable to retain new memories
  • Drastic decrease in interest in personal hobbies & endeavors
  • Severe constipation
  • Extreme sweating
  • Pinpoint/constricted pupils
  • Nausea
  • Collapsed veins or skin abscesses

Phencyclidine (PCP)

  • Not commonly used with regular frequency, therefore users don’t often show long term signs
  • Repeat use can lead to reduced memory retention
  • Repeat users have high rate of schizophrenic diagnosis later in life
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Complete detachment from reality
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss or coordination
  • Violent/aggressive

Other Common Drugs

Of course, there are other drugs out there that are not included in this table. However, and unfortunately, these are some of the common ones seen in workplaces today. For more information on these drugs, their indicators, and how you can further educate yourself in order to keep your workplace safe from these risks, contact us today.

Additional information and resources can be found at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and the Canadian Centre for Addictions and Mental Health.

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Part I – Signs & Symptoms of Drug Use in the Workplace

Blog and Opinions Red Slashes Jun 13, 2016


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