British business guide to drink and drugs in workplace

London: In England 17 million working days are lost every year through alcohol-related sickness while 35 percent of people of working age have used an illicit drug.

Now the most comprehensive guide ever compiled to tackle the booze and drugs culture in the British workplace has been published to help ease the pressure on both employers and employees.

Issued by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine in London, the ‘Guidance on alcohol and drug misuse in the workplace’ report has been written by the country’s leading experts and draws on all the most up-to-date information and advice.

In fact the guide has been considered such an important aid in dealing with the problem, that it has also been recognised by the medical research charity, the BUPA Foundation, by winning its annual Health at Work award.

One of the author’s of the report, Dr Steve Deacon, said: “Managing the misuse of drugs and alcohol in the workplace, is a real minefield for business. We found that what they needed was a clear, simple breakdown of the best, most up-to-date and relevant advice.

“This guide not only assists in prevention but also offers support to those seeking treatment and rehabilitation. It is a one-stop shop for handling all issues relating to alcohol and drug misuse.”

The vice-chairman of the BUPA Foundation, Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen said: “All the evidence shows that the misuse of drugs and alcohol in the workplace is on the increase. The price to pay is high – absenteeism, accidents at work, poor performance, errors, lost productivity and long-term ill health.

“The guidance will be a vital tool to occupational physicians as well as those people who work in human resources and safety management, in tackling these issues.”

Dr Steve Deacon and his team received their BUPA Foundation award at a ceremony at Lincoln’s Inn in London yesterday.

· The BUPA Foundation is an independent charitable organisation that funds medical research into the prevention, relief and cure of sickness and ill health. Since 1979 The BUPA Foundation has awarded grants in excess of £19 million to medical research and healthcare initiatives across a range of disciplines from surgery to occupational health. Further information on the BUPA Foundation is available at < a href="">

· The vast majority of grants go to medical research teams in NHS hospitals.

· The BUPA Foundation Awards are made annually to recognise excellence in medical research and healthcare. The six categories are – care of the elderly, clinical excellence, communication, epidemiology, medical research and health at work.

· Award winners receive a cheque for £10,000.

· This year BUPA donated £2.5 million to the BUPA Foundation.

· Dr Steve Deacon works at the Faculty of Occupational Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians in London.