First off, I'm sorry that you and your coworkers have to deal with this without a prompt solution, and I hope that the employee gets the help that they need. This is never easy for anyone involved.
For the most part, it seems like the ball has at least started to get rolling (albeit not at the timing or pace you'd of liked), but at least HR has started a conversation about the unprofessional behavior.
You, personally, have a couple options:
- Press the issue
- Ignore the issue
- Somewhere in the middle
- Find employment elsewhere
Unfortunately, in a workplace, these are pretty much the only options when it comes to the behavior of others. We can change our behavior, but most of the time, we cannot change the behavior of others.
If you are concerned about not "rocking the boat" or causing trouble, then one option would be to anonymously report your observations to HR. Nobody likes a snitch, but if the problem is affecting everyone (which it seems to be), sometimes bringing it to HR's attention is necessary for the common good.
In this case, I would not recommend ignoring the problem because of the repercussions in allowing the behavior to continue, not only for your sake, and the sake of your other coworkers, but also for the well-being of the coworker in question. He may be the director's recommended hire, but that is not an excuse for this kind of behavior in any respectable company.
If you are one of the primary observers of this behavior, my suggestion would be to take the middle road and discreetly continue the conversation with HR (anonymously or not). It's always possible that no one has dealt with this issue because no one wants to. However, bringing the appropriate people's attention to the issue will be better in the end for all parties involved, even if it means having to endure some uncomfortable conversations about what you've witnessed.
Because of the sensitivity here, I would not recommend discussing what you've seen or heard with the other employees. That job is for HR, in determining the extent of the problem and coming to a resolution that is best for the company. I would also recommend all of the discussion with HR be documented in some way (take notes during or immediately afterwards, for example). I would recommend your attitude/tone when discussing this HR to be of concern and optimism, not gossipy or judgmental.
If, after all is said and done, the employee ends up getting a slap on wrist and the behavior doesn't stop, then I would personally find another place to work. I would not feel comfortable working with someone who behaves in that way, but I would feel even more uncomfortable working for a company that tolerates that kind of behavior.
Edit: folks in comments also made some good points related to workplace safety. If the employee in question is putting himself or others in harms way, whether on the job site or on his way to it (ie. driving while intoxicated), you also have the option to report that to the appropriate governing body, whether that be OSHA, a similar workplace safety board in your state or industry, or law enforcement. If he brings illegal narcotics into the workplace, you can also report this to people outside of just HR, but I would still recommend speaking with them first, as they should be the liaison between employees and the company itself.