Management of alcohol- and drug-related issues in the workplace. Code of practice

Abuse of drugs and alcohol may cause serious difficulties at work including deterioration in job performance. Abuse is caused by a diverse range of personal, family, social or work situations or a combination of such factors. Consequently this ILO code of practice presents a variety of multidisciplinary approaches to the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of alcohol- and drug-related problems in the workplace. Although experience has shown the difficulty of eliminating substance abuse, the workplace policies presented in this book to assist individual abusers are likely to yield constructive results for workers and employers alike.


Problems relating to alcohol and drug use may arise from personal, family or social factors, or from certain work situations, or from a combination of these elements. Such problems not only have an adverse effect on the health and well-being of workers, but may also cause difficulties at work, including a deterioration in job performance. Given that there are multiple causes of alcohol- and drug-related problems, there are consequently multiple approaches to prevention, assistance, treatment and rehabilitation.
While the elimination of substance abuse is a highly desirable goal, experience has shown the difficulty of achieving this. However, workplace policies to assist individuals with alcohol- and drug-related problems, including the use of illegal drugs, would seem to yield the most constructive results for workers and employers alike.
It was for this reason that the Governing Body of the ILO decided to convene a meeting of experts to prepare a code of practice on the management of problems related to alcohol and drugs at the workplace.
The practical recommendations contained in this book are intended to provide guidance to all those who have responsibility for addressing alcohol- and drug-related issues at the workplace.