In the UK, around 2 million people suffer from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. This number is having an impact on their performance in the workplace as well as their behaviours. However, addiction is not just limited to drugs and alcohol.

Addiction can come in the form of an eating disorder where a person’s eating habits change dramatically due to them having an obsession with their body. People can also suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder where they have obsessive thoughts and show compulsive or repetitive behaviours. There are also addictions that relate to gambling and internet use, proving that addictions can take many different shapes and forms.

So, with so many addictions, how can employers manage addiction in the workplace?

Policies and Procedures

It is important that employers have the correct policies and procedures in place when it comes to approaching addiction. A drug and alcohol policy is a must as substance misuse can put people at risk in the workplace and so, it is important to have a procedure to follow when it comes to testing.

Education and Understanding

Having an awareness is vital and so, it is crucial that all employees are made aware of the policies that are in place for substance misuse and that they are also able to identify the signs of addiction. Through this, it is possible to create a culture where employees look out for each other and are aware of the disciplinary actions that can come into effect if they do not adhere to the policies.


Along with policies and procedures, it is important to support employees and offer advice. Dealing with employees who suffer from addiction requires the right approach and an understanding that every case is different. In some instances, adjustments might have to be made to their duties, the time they have off and the way in which they return to work.

Addiction is a disease that is very complex and it affects people in different ways. Substance misuse in the workplace poses a serious risk and it requires the right approach to deal with it. This is why drugs and alcohol testing in the workplace is a must as this can act as a deterrent but also help to minimise risks.