Drug and Alcohol Policy Template

August 4, 2017
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Substance misuse is a sensitive issue, and when a problem appears, you have to handle it in a timely manner and with a proportionate (and fair) response. You need to know the ins and outs of your company disciplinary procedure and the signs of substance misuse at work.

It’s also a good idea to solidify your stance on substance misuse problems. Many companies view drug problems or alcohol addiction as a mental health problem. This view is recommended.

To help you, this article includes a downloadable drug and alcohol policy template which you can use as a guide to help you create your own company policy.

You should also be aware that some work-related factors can encourage substance misuse, such as pressure to consume drugs/alcohol at work, very high or very low income levels, stress, a lack of supervision, an availability of drugs and alcohol at work, and a culture of substance misuse (some competitive sales environments also encourage a ‘work hard, play hard’ culture which has been linked to excessive drinking and cocaine use).

Signs of Alcoholism at Work

Colleagues and supervisors are in a unique position to help someone suffering from substance abuse. Therefore, employers should take a proactive position on awareness and training surrounding substance misuse at work.

Generally, colleagues can identify issues quicker and this can minimise the damage that a problem can cause.

  • Inability to carry out work-related duties.
  • Inconsistent job performance.
  • Frequent small accidents.
  • Lateness.
  • Frequent unexplained absences.
  • Paranoia.
  • Aggression.
  • Bloodshot eyes/signs of tiredness.
  • Overreacting to criticism.
  • Sudden weight loss.
  • Dental problems.
  • Bouts of manic activity.
  • Fatigue.
  • Neglecting responsibilities.
  • An unsteady gait.
  • Neglecting/damaging working relations.

Dealing With Substance Misuse at Work

So, when a problem appears, what do you do?

First, you need to make sure that you include clear information on disciplinary measures and investigatory interviews within your employee handbook. You also have to make sure these are available to everyone.

Also, as part of your drugs and alcohol policy, you should concisely mention your expectations on the use and misuse of drugs and alcohol while at work. Especially if you work in a sector where alcohol is readily available, such as a bar. If employees can drink at work – you need to state clear expectations on performance or, you need to state if you have a zero-tolerance policy.

And, it’s vital to include information on the expectation to follow drink driving and other UK legislation relating to alcohol and drugs at all times.

If you’re planning on implementing searches and you might be confiscating substances you should provide information on this. Equally, if you plan on screening for drugs and alcohol at work you should provide information on this – although I wouldn’t recommend it. Searches and drug screening can create a culture of mistrust, tend to be expensive, and often don’t work.

Finally, your policies need to have information on who is responsible for implementing the policy and how suspected substance misuse is investigated.