Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Recreational drug use

The question

After Conservative leadership candidate David Cameron's refusal to answer questions about past drug use, would you give a job to someone if you thought they had previously taken drugs?

This issue about whether or not David Cameron took drugs in his youth has been grabbed by the media and blown out of all proportion. Does a little bit of youthful experimentation in a person's formative years really affect their ability to do a job later on in life- Let's face it, most of us have probably done things at an early age that we probably regret later - pursuing a career in civil engineering, for instance.

Robert Pike, 43, project manager, Exeter Whether anyone has taken drugs is not, in itself, the best question.

It is whether what they did (or did not) do shows up important flaws in their character and ability to perform. While I am no advocate, in terms of understanding society, the experience might even make someone a better leader.

Jon Balley, 54, water engineer, Bucks Although I have not personally taken drugs, I think that experimenting with them could be regarded as part of life's learning process. So I do not believe it should automatically play a negative role regarding a person's job ability. Only prolonged or recent drug use would influence my decision about employing someone.

Mike Paul, 52, senior engineer, Stuttgart, Germany If the drug use had any direct bearing on the job or the candidate's ability to perform in the job, it would need to be considered. Otherwise, like so many other aspects of any candidate's past, I think it is irrelevant. The policy of New Labour seems to be to make a reluctant admission of guilt, if found out, but then to move on.

Why should anyone expect the Tories to act differently?

Derek Goodchild, 58, assistant chief engineer, Hampshire I think David Cameron is right not to answer the question - at least not until the editors of all the national newspapers and television channels who have published/broadcast the story have answered the question for themselves (and, by asking this question, that de facto includes NCE). If it is believed to matter for Cameron in his prospective role then it should matter equally for them in their roles.

Anthony Taylor, 62, consultant, St Albans Yes, I would give them a job, as long as they are otherwise qualified/suitable for the position.

What someone does in their own time, or has done in the past, is nothing to do with their employer unless it affects their ability to do the job now, in which case the problem would be addressed via the usual management/personnel processes.

Sue Higton, 36, engineering officer, Leek, Staffordshire This is a rather pointless question. Under a proper interview process the question would not be asked and therefore no one need admit to anything. The spin regarding David Cameron just highlights what modern day politics in this country has become - an unprofessional circus.

George Miezitis, 54, operations team leader, Fife

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.