Synthetics & Issues in the Workplace

Synthetics & Issues in the Workplace

Synthetics & Issues in the Workplace

Employers should know that synthetic drugs are dangerous intoxicants, the effects of which can seriously impact workplace safety and the user's job performance. Additionally, synthetic substances are generally not detected in standard workplace drug testing panels.

In most cases, the employee will show dramatic behavioral abnormalities such as listed below. Employers should be aware that ingestion of synthetics can cause an urgent medical condition and emergency assistance may be needed.

Signs and symptoms of synthetic abuse:

  • Severe agitation and anxiety
  • Fast, racing heartbeat and higher blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors
  • Intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes
  • Suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions
  • Death


When faced with an on-the-job situation where there is clearly adverse behavior displayed, employers are encouraged to completely document the circumstances and any signs or symptoms observed. They should consistently follow the company’s drug-free workplace policy and get the employee tested, even if the employee is transported to the emergency department at the local hospital.

In the event that the drug and alcohol test are reported as negative, the employer may still take appropriate disciplinary action on the adverse behavior in accordance with company policy and applicable federal, state and local laws.