1. Principles

Adults over the age of 18 have the legal right to consume alcohol whether they have mental capacity or not. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 gives enshrines the right of people to make their own choices, including unwise choices. However, local authority staff have a duty to safeguard vulnerable adults from harm and this duty must be balanced against the rights of the individual. Any intervention to restrict or prevent the consumption of alcohol by individuals must be made through the positive risk management process.

No one has the right to use illegal drugs. Anyone found using them is committing a criminal offence and such incidents must be reported to the police.

If a customer has a drug or alcohol problem, the service will support them to receive the most appropriate treatment.

2. Procedural Steps

Step Action By Whom
1. Some customers may wish to consume alcohol. If there appear to be any risks associated with this, for example if they take medication, or become aggressive towards others while under the influence of alcohol, a Positive Risk Assessment (see Positive Risk Taking Policy) should be carried out. Key worker
2. Where alcohol is being consumed, advice will be provided to customer with regard to consuming alcohol in moderation. Key worker
3. No one has the right to use any type of illegal drug. If a customer is found to be using such drugs, the incident should be reported to the police, to Care Quality Commission and to the safeguarding team as anyone giving an illegal drug to a vulnerable adult may be committing an act of abuse. Key worker / all staff
4. If a customer states they have a drug or alcohol problem they wish to address, advice should be sought from GP / Dr in the first instance, followed by specialist substance misuse services (with their permission). Key worker
5. The customer’s Support Plan should reflect any issues foreseeable as a result of their use of alcohol. Key worker and multi-disciplinary team
6. Visitors may wish to consume alcohol whilst in the home socialising with customers, but this should not adversely impact on the comfort and safety of anyone. If it does, steps should be taken to reduce the immediate impact, including asking the visitor to moderate his/her behaviour, asking him/her to move to another area of the home where the impact of their behaviour will be lessened or asking them to leave.

Any incident should then be considered as part of the ‘customer’s positive risk assessment’ and a plan to address the risk posed by their visitor’s behaviour should be formulated.

Senior staff member on duty