Employers are being urged to tackle drink and drugs problems at work after research revealed that UK industry loses about £2bn a year through related illnesses.
The report from the London Chamber of Commerce found 43 per cent of firms have no workplace alcohol and drugs policy.
The business body is calling on employers to conduct random tests on staff to combat substance problems in the workplace.
Sally Storey, HR director for Bournewood Community & Mental Health NHS Trust, said it was important to support staff who have substance abuse problems.
"I'm not surprised by the fact that 43 per cent of firms have no workplace policy in place. My experience is that the public sector is well ahead of these issues."
"But you also need a support mechanism for staff with drug and alcohol problems. In our trust, we have a confidential counselling service to help staff with problems."
Other findings from the report reveal that workplace problems may result from staff getting drunk or taking drugs outside office hours as well as during them. The research found that workers are more likely to admit to a drink problem if they feel it will be dealt with as a health problem and not result in immediate disciplinary measures.
Piers Merchant, director of campaigns at the London Chamber, said, "Companies need to treat such problems very sensitively and offer as much support as possible. They should devise properly thought-out policies on how to tackle the problem and how to deal with employees found to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs."
He added, "As part of their overall approach, some companies might consider measures such as a complete ban on drinking during working hours or random alcohol or drugs tests."
By Karen Higginbottom