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What makes a good Alcohol and Drug Policy?

When introducing an Alcohol and Drug Policy or reviewing an existing policy, there are some key points to consider: 

  • Is the policy clear and easy to follow for employees? 
  • What key terms should be used in a policy and are they used in the right context? 
  • Do the key terms have a definition to support them and are the definitions clear? 
  • Is the wording used consistently throughout? 
  • When should help and support be offered and how would it be managed? 
  • If testing is included, who, when and how will it be carried out? 

The policy should use words that are easy to comprehend and a dictionary is not needed to understand what the word means. For example, why use the word “cognisant” when the word “aware” is easier to understand. 

There should be a good flow to the policy. The policy should have, as a minimum, the following sections: 

  • Introduction
  • Scope
  • Rules
  • Responsibilities
  • Testing
  • Help and Support
  • Definitions

 There are a number of websites and organisations that have, what they call, “model policies” for companies to use, but in reality these policies tend to cause more problems for companies that use them. The reason is that these policies have a lot of inconsistencies with the terms used and either lack any detail or have too much detail. There are many policies which have the title “Alcohol and Drug Policy” but then start the policy with the wording “The abuse of substances ”. The wording in the policy should be consistent with the wording in the title of the policy.

There are also many policies on the Internet that some companies are cutting and pasting to create what they think is a good policy, but what they end up with is a mishmash of a policy that is full of inconsistencies, and as with the “model policies” do not work in practice.

In summary, as with any workplace policy, an Alcohol and Drug Policy should be clear and concise and be easy for employees to follow. It should have definitions that support the key terms used in the policy and if the policy is used, it should be able to stand up to a legal challenge.

To receive your full guide to a good Alcohol and Drug policy please email

Alternatively, if you are considering introducing an Alcohol and Drug Policy or considering reviewing an existing Alcohol and Drug policy, then please do not hesitate to contact Hampton Knight on 01827 65999.