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Freedom day triggers wave of alcohol abuse

Freedom day triggers wave of alcohol abuse

There’s no harm in celebrating freedom, but not at the expense of workplace safety.


The 19th of July 2021 marks what the people of the UK are calling national ‘freedom day’. After 14 months under COVID-19 related restrictions, the government believes that we are now in a position to lift those restrictions for the final time.

Although this event marks a significant reason to rejoice for a weary nation who have missed out on large events and regular socialising with friends and family, it does bring with it some points of caution.

Pubs, bars and nightclubs

Naturally, there is pent-up demand within the UK to go out and celebrate the fact that life is beginning to return to ‘normal’.  The reopening of nightclubs for the first time and the lack of restrictions on numbers in bars and pubs will likely result in increased alcohol consumption across the nation and a wave of alcohol abuse over the following weeks.

Whilst the vast majority of people respect alcohol and celebrate in a sensible manner, employers need to be aware of the very real risk of employees taking things too far – in terms of the over consumption of alcohol as well as the use of recreational drugs like cannabis and cocaine.

Workplace alcohol and drug testing

Are you planning to ramp up alcohol testing or drug testing in your workplace during the following weeks? We highly recommend this as the sensible course of action for any employer whilst the nation celebrates its freedom.

For many employees, celebration means drinking far more alcohol than usual. Additional caution should be taken for staff who regularly work weekend shifts and could still be unfit to work (impaired by alcohol, or drugs) at work the morning after the night before.

Freedom from furlough

With the easing of restrictions also comes the fact that many employees on furlough are now heading back to the workplace, having been furloughed for a significant period of time. Although furlough has been a great initiative, it has left many employees at home with little to do.

Extra caution should be taken with staff members returning from furlough who have potentially developed a reliance on alcohol or drugs, either to help fill their time at home or deal with the stress the last year has presented.

Beyond freedom day

With the correct hygiene procedures in place, it’s possible to continue to test employees for drugs and alcohol, as defined by your workplace policy, in a COVID safe way. It’s worth remembering that workplace drug and alcohol testing protects both employees, employers and wider society. It also reduces the impact on other healthcare services by preventing accidents and other consequences of alcohol or drug abuse.

If you have any further questions or concerns about workplace drug and alcohol testing, our experienced team can offer expert advice and solutions for your workplace – send us a message or call us on 0208 454 7372.

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