There’s been a lot of media comment recently about people taking illicit drugs to help them stay awake. This is particularly the case in the trucking industry, with some truck drivers taking ICE to help them stay awake on long hauls and at late hours.
So, can illicit drugs really help you stay awake?
The short answer is, for some people, yes. The drugs in question are mostly amphetamines (e.g. speed) and methamphetamines (e.g. ICE). Both are stimulants and many people take them so that they can party, dance, play (and even more unfortunately work and drive) for longer without feeling tired.
While these drugs can help people feel more awake, excited and upbeat, the potential side effects make any ‘benefits’ fade into insignificance. And they make their use in combination with activities that require concentration, such as driving and working, a potential lethal combination. These side effects include overactivity, jitteriness, anxiety, higher heartbeat and blood pressure, aggressiveness and an increased likelihood of risk taking. In some cases it can cause psychosis.
In addition, while the high from taking amphetamines or methamphetamines can last for hours, it’s inevitably followed by a low that can last for much longer.
Obviously, these side effects have no place on our roads or in our workplaces. Particularly if the workplace is a truck.