Column: Workers' Comp

A Microdose of Common Sense

By: | February 20, 2017 • 3 min read
Roberto Ceniceros is senior editor at Risk & Insurance® and chair of the National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. He can be reached at [email protected] Read more of his columns and features.

Sorry, but if you are still focused on how the growing legalization of marijuana might impact your workers’ comp claims, you are woefully behind the times. LSD is allegedly the new drug of choice at work, fueled by stories of silicon techies experimenting with microdoses of the hallucinogen to enhance creativity and productivity.

“Microdosing” adherents believe LSD improves cognitive function and focus, if taken in such small doses that the usual hallucinogenic effect associated with the drug doesn’t occur, so the stories report.

I first found myself thinking there might be some logic to this. But I quickly settled on the opinion that consuming LSD at work is way too stupid for way too many reasons.

For one, I don’t want my editors tripping and laughing hysterically while deciding which parts of my column deserve the delete button. Regular old coffee should keep them productive enough for the task.

I can only imagine a risk manager’s thoughts, “It was bad enough worrying about workers operating machinery while rendered inattentive from smoking legal weed the night before. Now I have to worry about operators plowing down co-workers while fleeing from giant paisley-colored monsters chasing them?”

In theory, the effects of microdosing are supposed to be almost imperceptible; you wouldn’t notice anything different about the microdoser next to you, other than their annoying tendency to be more productive than you.

I can only imagine a risk manager’s thoughts, “It was bad enough worrying about workers operating machinery while rendered inattentive from smoking legal weed the night before. Now I have to worry about operators plowing down co-workers while fleeing from giant paisley-colored monsters chasing them?”

But a reality check raises several questions. How does the user control dose amounts of LSD, an illegal street drug? What if the user decides to take take more — enough to crash a vehicle when a traffic light turns from red to blue and lavender on their way home from work?

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Would they argue that the employer is responsible for workers’ comp because the hallucinogenic was used in the scope of employment? After all, they were attempting to be more productive in the workplace.

The dozens of stories written about LSD microdosing in the workplace may be more media hype than actual trend. But microdosing does have real proponents, if not for workplace productivity, then for general performance enhancement.

No doubt some people will read those stories about enhancing workplace productivity and decide it sounds like a great idea.

This all points to two intersecting trends that might interest the risk manager. Along with increased acceptance for legalizing weed, I think we are seeing growing acceptance of other substances, coupled with greater interest in performance enhancement.

As I sit writing this column while slurping my morning Joe, I just hope that there isn’t some other workers’ comp journalist with an LSD-fueled competitive edge that, by comparison, renders my work colorless. &

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