Alcohol & Substance Misuse

Alcohol and substance misuse can have a damaging effect on a business, for example, on non-attendance, productivity, morale and reputation.

If alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs are causing difficulties in your employees' performance, it can become a problem to your company. 

Alcohol misuse means drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week for both male and females. For more information on alcohol misuse, visit the NHS guidance on this here.

 

Misuse of drugs can mean a number of things:

Taking a drug that has been prescribed to you but taking it in a manner or dose that is higher than what has been prescribed

Taking someone else’s prescription, even if for a legitimate medical complaint such as pain

Taking a medication or illegal substances to feel high

 

Alcohol misuse is a large cause of early death and illness for individuals; After smoking, it is the largest risk factor for cancer and the biggest cause of liver disease. The impact alcohol and substance abuse has on a business is huge, below are some hard facts on the subject.

 

  • In the UK, around 1.4 million people are dependent on alcohol
  • 10 million in the UK are drinking
  • 70% of substance abusers are in full time employment
  • 7% of adult drug users are employed
  • 40% of industrial accidents are linked to substance abuse
  • 15% of workers are occasionally drunk at work
  • 60% of all poor job performances are linked to substance abuse
  • 2016 testing data shows highest workforce drug positivity in 12 years, driven by illicit drugs
  • 9 out of 10 drug abusers work at small or medium businesses
  • 3 million workers will go into work under the influence each year

Employees misusing alcohol and drugs can have consequences on your company’s performance. This can include:

  • Tiredness on the job
  • Performance quality reduced
  • Poor decision-making
  • Lower morale of co-workers
  • Safety concerns
  • Higher turnover of employees
  • Training of new employees
  • Use three times as many sick days
  • More likely to injure themselves or someone else at work
  • Substance abuse costs £100 billion to businesses – 10% of annual payroll
  • Lost productivity due to alcohol in the UK costs £7.3 billion
  • 14 million working days are lost each year in the UK due to alcohol and drug-related issues

 

What you can do to support Alcohol and Substance Misuse 

 

  • Promote the use of a health app such as Best-You to track the alcohol they drink and set reminders for drink-free days 
  • Promote the use of the FREE healthy lifestyles service – Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire, which offers free one-to-one coaching for activity, healthy eating, smoking and cutting down on alcohol
  • Promote the One You Drinks Free Days app
  • Display posters from trustworthy sources (e.g. Drinkaware) at work – see resource section below

Best-You is a FREE online platform and app that you and your staff can use as your own personal platform to communicate, create goals and track your progress.

Create a private Group and invite employees to discuss healthy lifestyles at work – employees who sign up with HLS Gloucestershire can create a group with their coach to discuss their challenges around alcohol and receive support.

Employees can create goals for alcohol, activity, healthy eating and smoking. Users can track their progress against their goal each day and Best-You will give motivational feedback. 

Best-You is full of helpful guidance for alcohol, activity, healthy eating and smoking.

To support alcohol and substance misuse at work you could encourage/provide:

  • Display resources from trustworthy sources (e.g. Drinkaware) at work
  • Increase knowledge of lower unit alcohols
  • Encourage open and honest conversations
  • Have a Champion within the company
  • Using a health app such as Best-You to monitor your active minutes
  • Use the FREE healthy lifestyles service, Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire, which offers free one-to-one coaching for alcohol, healthy eating, smoking and getting more active
  • Displaying posters from trustworthy sources around the workplace – see resource section below
  • Provide guidance and advice to employees about alcohol and substance misuse
  • Support National Awareness days or campaigns such as Dry January, Drink Free Days, Alcohol Awareness Week etc.

Additional Support 

National Resources

There are lots of resources online that can support you with policies and guidance around Alcohol and Substance Misuse:

ACASAlcohol and drug policies

Health and Safety ExecutiveCurrent legal base and any legal developmentsAlcohol and drug guidanceA guide for employers on alcohol at work

EWDTS - EU guidance for workplace drug and alcohol testing

You can support your employees by signposting them to a number of FREE online resources:

Best-You An online platform and app for self-care, set alcohol free days, set goals and track – see Best-You section below for more details.

Frank - Confident and honest advice about drugs

NHSAlcohol Misuse

Public Health EnglandDrink free days campaign resourcesOne You

You can also find more apps and tools in the NHS apps library

Local Services

Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire

Location: HLS Gloucestershire, Suite 1B,
First Floor Eastgate House
Eastgate Street
Gloucester GL1 1PX

Phone: 0800 122 3788

Email: glccg.hlsglos@nhs.net

HLS Gloucestershire is a FREE service offering low level support for alcohol. They offer one-to-one health coaches to support with cutting down on alcohol consumption, being a healthy weight, getting more active and stopping smoking.

 

Change Grow Live

Locations: Imperial Chambers, 41-43 Longsmith Street, Gloucester

Bramery House, Alstone Lane, Cheltenham

Bankfield House, 13 Wallbridge, Bath Road, Stroud

Phone: 01452 223014

Email:  Gloucestershire.Info@cgl.org.uk.

CGL offer FREE specialist support for alcohol and drugs, providing information, support, advice and treatment options.