Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Awareness

In 2013 the Scottish Government launched a new tobacco control strategy Creating a Tobacco Free Generation with a series of actions aimed at achieving smokefree status by 2034 (less than 5% of the population as smokers).  The strategy contained a specific action that ‘all NHS Boards will implement and enforce smokefree grounds by March 2015.  Smokefree status includes the removal of any designated smoking areas and shelters in NHS Board buildings or grounds.

In the tabs below you will find specific policy and process information in place within your Board.

National Services Scotland

This page is designed to support people who wish to address issues with drugs, alcohol or smoking, 


In their widest sense, drugs are substances that alter the way in which the mind or body works. The effects of drugs vary from substance to substance and also from person to person. These include alcohol, solvents, legal highs, prescribed drugs, over the counter medication. These also include controlled drugs such as: heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, cannabis.

Many drugs have the potential to affect a person’s ability to do their job safely and to keep their colleagues or other people safe too. As a result, Line Managers need to:

  • understand the issue
  • spot problems at an early stage
  • make sure that the workplace remains safe for everyone.

NSS has a duty under Health and Safety law to make sure that all staff work safely and do not put others at risk


  • For most people, drinking responsibly can be part of a balanced lifestyle. However, the inappropriate use of alcohol can damage the health and wellbeing of a person. It can also have far reaching effects on their personal and working life.
  • Find out more about alcohol units and sensible drinking via our Know the numbers campaign.
  • NHS Inform provides information on drinking sensibly, knowing your limits and getting support for alcohol abuse.



NSS has internal and external support available to encourage and support any employee who wants to stop smoking, and has a duty of care to protect people from the effects of smoking in our workplace.The Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 states that smoking is not allowed in any enclosed workplace, public building or on public transport in Scotland, with a limited number of exemptions. Smoking is also not allowed in any work vehicle that more than one person uses.


Websites and Videos

If you require additional information you can contact the Healthy Working Lives Team through HR Connect Contact Us / Wellbeing.

NHS 24

NHS 24 has a Substance Misuse policy and a Tobacco Policy, these can be found under the policies section.

NHS Inform has information on the benefits of quitting smoking to you and others around you.  Find the support you might need to make you quit attempt a success:


View this video on Stoptober 2020.

NHS Education for Scotland

Employers have a general duty under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of its staff and others.  Staff also have a duty to co-operate with and implement their employer’s policies in this respect.

NHS Golden Jubilee

NHS Golden Jubilee is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all staff, patients and visitors. In line with this our No Smoking Policy has been developed to allow all who work or visit the organisation to do so in smoke free premises.  A link to our No Smoking Policy can be found below.

Public Health Scotland

Public Health Scotland content is being designed for this page, in the interim please refer to the National Services Scotland Tab for support.  
If you require additional information you can contact the NSS Health Promotion Advisor through HR Connect Contact Us / Wellbeing 

Scottish Ambulance Service

Employers have a general duty under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of its staff and others.  Staff also have a duty to co-operate with and implement their employer’s policies in this respect.

    • Alcohol - Where can I get help?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      If you think you are regularly drinking too much and would like to change your drinking habits, there are a few things you can do to help yourself:

      • Confide in or talk to someone you trust about ways you could tackle this
      • Keep a drinks diary for a month to record where, when and how much you drink as you could be underestimating it
      • Consider laying off alcohol for a while to give your body time to recover and you time to think about your alcohol use and what changes you want to make whether it be drinking less alcohol, drinking less often or stopping drinking completely

      There are a range of agencies which can provide information, advice, help and support to those who want to change their drinking habits, or to relatives who might be concerned about someone else’s drinking.

      Internal offer:

      • Access to local Occupational Health Services
      • Employee Assistance Programme run through HELP, contact details and more information can be found at this link:


      External Organisations:

      • Drinkline is a national alcohol helpline, if you are worried about your own of someone else’s drinking you can call this Freephone number on 0300 123 100 (weekdays 9am – 8pm, weekends 11am – 4pm)



      • Alcoholics anonymous (AA) provide free self-help groups across Scotland, its 12 step programme involves getting sober with the help of regular support groups. National helpline number is 0800 917 7650 / alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk


      • Al-Anon Family Groups offer support and understanding to families and friends of people who are dependent on alcohol. Alteen is part of the Al-Non and can be attended by 12 to 17 year olds who are affected by another person’s drinking usually a parent. Helpline number: 0800 0086 811 / al-anonuk.org.uk


      • Addaction is a UK wide agency that helps individuals, families and communities to manage the effects of drugs and alcohol. They provide free, confidential information and advice and web chat service / addaction.org.uk


      • Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs supports families across Scotland affected by alcohol or drugs and raises awareness of the issues affecting them. Many support services including a helpline, support groups, bereavement support and Telehealth service – helpline 08080 101011. Available 9am-11pm Monday to Friday and as a call back service at the weekends / sfad.org.uk
    • Alcohol - What is meant by single occassion drinking?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      The Chief Medical Officers' advice for men and women who want to keep their short term health risks from single occasion drinking to a low level is to reduce them by: 

      - Limiting the total amount of alcohol, you drink on any single occasion

      - Drinking more slowly, drinking with food, and alternating with water

      - Planning ahead to avoid problems; an example of planning ahead is making sure you can get home safely or that you have people you trust with you 

      The sorts of things that are more likely to happen if you misjudge your overall alcohol intake on a single occasion can include: 

      - Accidents resulting in injury; causing death in some cases 

      - Misjudging risky situations

      - Losing self-control (for example, engaging in unprotected sex)

      Certain groups of people are more likely to be affected by alcohol and should be more careful of their drinking on any one occasion. These can include those at risk of falls, on medication that may interact with alcohol or those with ay pre-existing physical and mental health problems which could be exacerbated. 

    • Alcohol - What are the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      The Chief Medical Officers (CMO’s) across the UK issued revised and agreed guidance on unit consumption in both women and men states:

      This advice is: -

      - To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

      - If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread your drinking evenly over 3 or more days. If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week, you increase your risk of death from long term illness and from accidents and injuries.

      - The risk of developing a range of health problems (including cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases the more you drink on a regular basis.

      - If you wish to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink free days each week.

    • Alcohol - What are the consequences of drinking too much?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      There are many risks associated with alcohol some of which are health related and others are more about the social impact.

      Your health consequences could include:

      - Increased risk of liver disease

      - Raised blood pressure

      - Risk of some cancers including breast cancer

      - Increased risk of thrombosis and sudden cardiac death

      - Alcohol poisoning

      - Stomach and gastric problems

      Your social consequences of drinking too much alcohol could include:

      - Unsafe sex

      - Risk of drug assisted sexual assault

      - Violence and aggression

      - Road traffic accidents

      - General falls, accidents and injuries

      - Embarrassing behaviour in front of family, friends or workmates

    • Alcohol - How much is 14 units of alcohol?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      One unit is 10ml of pure alcohol. Because alcoholic drinks come in different strengths and sizes units are a good way of telling how strong your drink is. It’s not as simple as one drink, one unit.

      The new alcohol unit guidelines are equivalent to six pints of average strength beer or six 175ml glasses of average strength wine. 

    • Alcohol - As an employee, what are my responsibilities regarding alcohol?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

      All employees have a responsibility to take reasonable care of themselves and others who could be affected by their actions.

      It is the responsibility of all employees to ensure that:

      - they do not consume alcohol during the course of the working day;

      - they do not consume alcohol when on call or on a break from the workplace with the intention/ possibility of returning to it;

      - they do not come to work impaired by the effect of alcohol;

      - they will take advice from GP/Pharmacist regarding side effects of prescription or over the counter medication in relation to performance at work

      - they are aware that they may be required to participate in testing where this is agreed as part of an alcohol or substance dependency programme

      If you think that one of your Colleagues may be under the influence of Alcohol at work – report it for not only their safety but that of others.

    • Do you want to stop smoking?NHS Education for Scotland