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Risky and harmful use of alcohol, other drugs and gambling

This page provides information and support regarding risky and harmful use of alcohol, other drugs and gambling.

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As well as alcohol, drugs and gambling, risky and harmful use may apply to shopping, sex, social media, excessive exercise and other addictive activities, for example.

Lund University strives to provide a work environment free from risky or harmful use. If you engage in risky or harmful use, you are to be offered help and support. If, as an employee, you see that a colleague needs support for their risky or harmful use, you are to tell your manager. You are always to have the option of an alcohol-free alternative, without being questioned or singled out.

You may not be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs while you work. Lund University has a zero-tolerance policy towards all unauthorised and illegal handling and use of drugs by employees. 

What you do in your free time is up to you, as long as it is not illegal and does not affect safety and well-being in your workplace or your capacity to carry out your work. What you do in your free time must not damage trust between you and your employer or harm Lund University’s reputation. 

The earlier a person engaged in risky or harmful behaviour is noticed and given support by their manager, the better the chances of them dealing with the problem and being able to continue working.

Test your drinking habits anonymous online

If you are wondering about your own alcohol habits, you can take the Occupational Health Service’s anonymous online test. You can find out whether you drink too much and get tips and advice about how you can change your drinking habits. 

Test your alcohol habits on the Occupational Health Service’s anonymous self-evaluation on (in Swedish)

If you have a problem with risky or harmful use

If you have a problem with risky or harmful use, you can get help and support from your employer. You can always turn to your manager for help. Your manager has a responsibility to ensure that you receive help and support.

If you do not feel comfortable talking to your manager, you can also turn to an HR partner in your organisation, your union representative or to the doctoral student representative. 

You can obtain additional support by contacting: 

Through your manager, you can get help drawing up a plan for interventions and possible treatments in consultation with Occupational Health Services. 

It is always your manager’s responsibility to ensure that an investigation is carried out and that job modification and rehabilitation measures are put in place and followed up. You are always responsible for being active in your job modification and rehabilitation. 

If you have concerns about a colleague

If you are concerned that a colleague may have a problem with risky or harmful use, you are to contact your manager. Not saying anything is not helping that person. Getting involved and asking questions in these contexts is caring. With your help, a manager who is concerned about a staff member’s health can raise it with them in a meeting to discuss concerns. 

Some signs of risky and harmful use may be 

  • declining performance at work 
  • unbalanced behaviour 
  • difficulty in maintaining working hours 
  • tiredness and concentration difficulties
  • less pride in appearance and personal hygiene 
  • smelling of alcohol 
  • embarrassing behaviour at staff parties 
  • repeated short-term absence, particularly in connection with weekends and holidays 
  • leave days, leave of absence and homeworking without prior notice 
  • financial problems, asking colleagues for loans. 

Would you like to find out more about risky and harmful use?

In Kompetensportalen (the Professional Development Portal) you will find courses and lectures about harmful use aimed at managers, HR professionals and employees. See the links in the right-hand column.

Definitions of risky and harmful use

As well as alcohol, drugs and gambling, risky and harmful use may apply to shopping, sex, social media, excessive exercise and other addictive activities, for example.

Read more below:


For example: drinking alcohol or gambling without it resulting in harm or negative consequences, be they physical, psychological, financial or social. The use of drugs is not in this category. Any consumption of drugs that is not for medicinal reasons is considered forbidden and illegal.

Risky use

For example alcohol consumption, gaming or gambling that risks developing into harmful use or addiction if it continues over time. Risky use of alcohol can lead to accidents, anxiety, conflicts, high blood pressure, cancer and problems with digestion and sleep, for example.

Harmful use

Behaviour that has negative consequences for health, social relationships and/or has a negative financial impact on an individual, organisation or society (WHO’s definition).


A medical diagnosis that means problems are so severe that they may constitute a clinical addiction. A substance addiction means being addicted to alcohol, drugs or medicines, for example. 

Gambling disorder and gaming disorder are also classed as addiction illnesses.

Read more

Alcohol, narcotics, doping, tobacco and nicotine products, and gambling — Public Health Agency of Sweden (


Contact your line manager or the human resources officer within your department/faculty or equivalent.

Occupational Health Service

You can contact the Occupational Health Service for work related medical advice, counselling and ergonomic advice.

The Occupational Health Service works to achieve healthy, well-functioning and pleasant workplaces, and is available to help employees and doctoral students

+46 46 222 32 80

Read more about the Occupational Health Service