As part of the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC) Workplace Interventions Project, ALAC plans to provide support to employers in their implementation of workplace-based early intervention to reduce the negative effects in the workplace of alcohol and other drug misuse. This initiative fits well within the ALAC Strategic Plan 2002–2007, which identifies workplace-based early intervention as a key strategy to achieve ALAC’s goal of reducing alcohol-related harm in the community.
The workplace creates an ideal opportunity for early intervention. Alcohol misuse has been linked to increased absenteeism, lower productivity and higher accident rates in the workplace. Importantly, it is argued that more damage results from hazardous use, eg, binge drinking, than from dependent use (because of the higher prevalence of the former) and it is this group of hazardous users for whom early intervention is appropriate.
A collaborative relationship has been formed between ALAC, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and the New Zealand Department of Labour (DOL) to ascertain the best ways to work, both independently and in collaboration, to support employers to implement workplace-based early intervention.
In 2005, ALAC sponsored a review to:
- Establish what exists to support employers in the development and dissemination of workplace-based early intervention policy and programmes to address alcohol and other drug misuse.
- Identify best practice in relation to workplace early intervention, based on international literature.
In doing so, the review would establish where resources could be best applied, by identifying the gaps between current activities and identified best practice in workplace-based alcohol and other drug early intervention.
This paper provides a final report from that review.