Drug and alcohol misuse are significant issues in society, meaning they’re also an issue for UK workplaces. As people professionals, you may at some point have to handle a situation where an employee is misusing alcohol and/or drugs. Whatever our personal views, it is important that we handle such cases professionally and with integrity – supporting people wherever we can and using external expertise and advice to ensure that there is a fair and unambiguous outcome.

The CIPD’s Managing drug and alcohol misuse at work survey found that only 33% of UK employers provide information for employees on sources of support for drug and alcohol related problems, and too few invest in manager capability to manage and support people who are struggling.

Employers must ensure they have a clear policy on substance misuse. The CIPD recommend that preventing drug and alcohol misuse forms part of their overall wellbeing offering to ensure any need for disciplinary action is coupled with a preventative and supportive approach to help employees get the help they need.

As a result, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you not only manage specific incidents, but also to provide the support needed by employees struggling with drug or alcohol problems, as well as the preventative actions they can take.

The context

The law, drugs and alcohol

How do I develop the right culture, policy and process?

Dealing with incidents and disclosure

Drug and alcohol testing

The aftermath

Key points to remember

Further information

More on this topic

Thought leadership
UK policy reforms needed to shift dial on economic participation of long-term sick

Urgent public policy reform to promote good work and health is needed to tackle long-term sickness absence

Managing and supporting employees with long-term health conditions

Practical advice and guiding principles for effective support

People manager guide: Managing and supporting employees with long-term health conditions

Practical advice and guiding principles for effective support

Terminal illness: Guidance for people professionals

Advice on supporting and managing employees with a terminal diagnosis

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