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A guide for alcohol licensees about drug law and reducing substance related problems in your premises.

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.


Policies and plans prevent problems

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.

Your host responsibility plans should include the following areas about drugs: Creating a safer environment. Handling substances safely.  What to do at the entrance. Responding to a customer using or in possession of a substance. Responding to a customer influenced or intoxicated by a substance. When someone is observed supplying substances. Assisting a customer who says their drink was spiked.

Build key relationships and networks

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


Front and back of the Intoxication Assessment Tool available from alcohol.org.nz and produced by the Health Promotion Agency

Serving a customer influenced by drugs

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.

Drugs in Bars Guide Booklet Cover

Get the full guide

Check out the full PDF or order a free printed copy from our Resources page right now.

Drugs in Bars: A Guide for Licensees 2019 ( PDF 788kb )


This resource was developed in collaboration with Te Hiringa Hauora (now Te Whatu Ora), NZ Police, NZ Institute of Liquor Licensing Inspectors, National Public Health Alcohol Working Group, Hospitality NZ, and security providers.

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