Suzannah Robin considers the impact of prescription drugs in the workplace and puts a case forward for drug testing.

Control of the use of alcohol in the workplace has been under public debate for some time; however, employers often overlook the dangers of employees taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

It’s a scenario any employer could imagine. A trusted employee has been absent with a slipped disc, but is now back at work. She’s still in some discomfort, but she’s taking codeine tablets prescribed by her doctor to control the pain, and seems to have returned to her usual reliable self.

As an employee, would you question her fitness to work? The disturbing fact is that many bosses wouldn’t – yet by failing to implement a drugs and alcohol policy, which includes testing for prescription and some over-the-counter drugs, they could be laying themselves open to prosecution, not to mention risking the safety of employees and customers.

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