Substance abuse

Not up to date January 2023 - see Norwegian page

Do you or a colleague need help with substance abuse? This page provides information about what NTNU can do to help.

Norsk versjon - Rus - og avhengighetsproblematikk

Topic page about HSE | Pages labelled with HSE

Help and a good working environment

Individuals struggling with substance abuse find themselves in a difficult situation. Family, friends and colleagues will also find it difficult when someone they love, respect and are cooperating with is having these problems.

As an employer, NTNU wishes to take care of all employees, offer help and implement the right measures for those who struggle with substance abuse. Along with its employees, NTNU is responsible for keeping a good workplace and a good working environment.

Substance abuse and work

NTNU does not approve use of intoxicating substances if someone:

  • Gets high during working hours
  • Comes to work while intoxicated
  • Uses intoxicating substances outside of working hours to the extent where one fails to show up for work
  • Is unable to properly perform their job due to substance abuse outside of their working hours

Are you unsure of whether you or a colleague is using intoxicating substances to the extent where it might cause problems? Contact Occupational Health Services for advice and guidance.

If you are struggling with substance abuse, you should know that your leader is there to help you, and that you can ask for a talk whenever you need it.

Measures in relation to substance abuse

If someone at NTNU is using intoxicating substances to the extent where it affects their work (see above), their closest leader will contact the individual in question for a conversation. During this conversation they will receive a verbal warning, and the leader will also present an agreement to participate in a substance abuse programme (in Norwegian) (pdf), to be signed by both parties.

The leader should also document the verbal warning. The recipient of the verbal warning receives a copy of this documentation, stating the time and place, the name of the recipient and a description of the reason for the verbal warning.

In case of another situation that warrants a warning, the individual in question will receive a written warning (in Norwegian) (pdf) (second warning). The recipient of the warning has to confirm that they have received it. The leader and the recipient will together plan and carry out an ordinary substance abuse programme.

If the new situation constitutes a breach of the current substance abuse programme, the individual in question and the leader should together assess the contents of the programme and make the necessary adjustments. Occupational Health Services, the individual's employee representative or physician can also assist in this.

The substance abuse programme can include internal and external measures in the workplace. External measures can be taken in collaboration with a clinic or treatment facility.

If yet another situation occurs where the employee breaches the agreement of the substance abuse programme, the leader will issue a new written warning (in Norwegian) (pdf) (third warning).

If the agreement of the substance abuse programme is not observed after the third (and written) warning, this can be cause for dismissal.

The employee with the substance abuse problem, their closest leader and possibly a leader at a higher level, Occupational Health Services, the employee representative and/or the employees physician, should now meet to discuss the situation and assess whether the substance abuse programme should be continued. The programme will be terminated if all participants in the meeting agree that it should not continue.

When it all goes well

The first, verbal warning is removed from the recipient’s personnel records if there are no more work-related substance abuse problems in the next two years.

When the employee with the substance abuse problem has completed a substance abuse programme, all issued warnings will be removed. The leader is also responsible for removing all records of the case from the individual's personnel records, and to shred these.


Everyone involved in the substance abuse programme has an obligation to observe confidentiality. The leader must make sure that all case documents are kept in a closed envelope in the employee's personnel records. Copies of these documents can only be issued to the employee in question, their leader, their physician and Occupational Health Services.