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Licensees and managers have a duty to be responsible hosts to all customers, including those using substances like illicit drugs or medicines. The good news is you can reduce problems and harm to your customers by having good policies, processes, responses and training.

Know the law

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 prohibits licensees or managers from serving people intoxicated by any psychoactive substance not just alcohol. The Act's definition of intoxication makes this explicit: Intoxication is being observably affected by alcohol, other drugs and/or substances

First and foremost, your Host Responsibility Policy and Implementation Plan should outline your commitment to reducing harm from substance use. Together they should explain how you create a safe environment, handle substances safely, protect customer privacy, and respond to substance or drug related issues effectively.

Know the law

The Misuse of Drugs Act (MoDA) makes it illegal to knowingly permit your premises to be used to supply, consume, procure or administer a ‘controlled drug’. So if you or your staff see something happening, deal with it. You can possess a substance to prevent an offence being committed and/or to destroy it or deliver it to Police. But you cannot take possession forcibly or without consent.

An excellent way to learn about substance issues in your premises is through regular conversations with a wide variety of people:

  • Nearby managers or licensees
  • Alcohol Licensing Inspector
  • Public Health Units
  • Police
  • Customers

All staff are tasked with preventing intoxication from illicit substances. The thresholds in the Intoxication Assessment Tool, produced by Te Hiringa Hauora apply to alcohol as well as other substances. Intoxication from a substance can differ from alcohol qualitatively but the behavioural indicators are similar.

Intoxication Assessment Tool

Photo by Maxwell Jayes on Unsplash