Legal highs at work

10 February 2016

Most organisation probably have an alcohol and drugs policy. But does it cover ‘legal highs’?

You probably have an alcohol and drugs policy. But does it cover ‘legal highs’?

These are substances that imitate the effects of illegal drugs. They’re generally stimulants, ‘downers’ or hallucinogens, and their use can have serious consequences. According to Acas, there were 129 reported deaths in England, Scotland and Wales in 2014 where new psychoactive substances were implicated.

If you haven’t yet read Acas’ guidance on dealing with legal highs at work, take a look:

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5572

The broad advice is to:

  • deal with the use of legal highs in the same way as you would other drugs or alcohol, and build this into your policy. Remember that even though legal highs aren’t unlawful, you can still control their use in the same way as you ban or restrict the consumption of alcohol at work
  • think about focusing, in your policy, on the effect the drugs have, rather than on the drugs themselves. That should make it easier to identify legal highs during drug testing; the compounds that make up legal highs are changing all the time
  • educate staff on the signs of drug use
  • encourage users to get help.

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