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Ideas & Observations

Managing the highs and lows of the workplace

News broke last week of Royal Mail staff seeming to indulge in cannabis-laced brownies from a parcel they had ‘helped themselves to’, whilst on duty. Many questions were raised from this but perhaps the most pertinent – as an employer, is what do you do when there is a drug problem within your team?

John Devitt, CEO at Recovery4Life, a multi-award-winning specialist occupational healthcare provider based in the North East, explains.

“Substance misuse and dependency can cause myriad problems for employers. Not just from a safety and performance perspective, but reputational too – you only need to look at these headlines around the Royal Mail to see that.

“These sorts of issues within the workplace are surprisingly common but with effective management protocols they can be identified, controlled and resolved in the best interests of all stakeholders.”

Questions remain for Royal Mail’s spokesperson team; why did staff seemingly open an unclaimed parcel? Why did they continue to eat the contents after identifying that it appeared to contain an illegal substance? This remains unclear, but the ongoing policy is straightforward, as John continues:

“There are many reasons why people use substances, and this can be avoided to a considerable extent through a proactive well-being programme – prevention always being better than cure. But issues will arise, and it’s important to act on these rapidly with the appropriate steps.

“In an ideal world, everyone passes their drug and alcohol tests. In reality, there will be times where people do fail, and this can present employers with difficult choices. At Recovery4Life we don’t just leave you to pick up the pieces of a test result; we work with you to resolve the situation. And if you understand what you’re dealing with, you can deal with anything”

As Royal Mail seeks to answer difficult questions and investigate the actions of its personnel, Recovery4Life reminds employers that there are many courses of action an employer can take to protect and support their staff as well as mitigate risk to their own business.


For a free, confidential and no obligation discussion with the experts at Recovery4Life, see or call 03333 448 288.