Drugs and alcohol in the workplace

David Brown and Henrietta Bowden-Jones

in Fitness for Work

Fifth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199643240
Published online April 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191755668 | DOI:

Series: Landmark Papers

Drugs and alcohol in the workplace

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  • Occupational Medicine
  • Public Health and Epidemiology


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Drug and alcohol misuse is present at all levels of society and throughout the world although the patterns of use, the substances involved, and the prevailing attitudes vary widely. However it presents, drug and alcohol misuse is a particularly challenging issue for employers, managers, and occupational physicians. These include the effects of drugs and alcohol on health and well-being and the direct and indirect effects on output, performance, and behaviour at work. There are legal implications if employees are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or in possession of illegal drugs where there may be a degree of vicarious liability for the employer. Management may have limited tolerance towards such individuals and there may be significant issues regarding public confidence towards those involved in safety critical industries. Whilst attitudes towards alcohol in society and the workplace appears to be hardening, the distinction between what is acceptable drinking and problem drinking is often blurred.

Chapter.  8916 words. 

Subjects: Occupational Medicine ; Public Health and Epidemiology

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