Drug Abuse in the Medical Profession

Drug Abuse in the Medical Profession

America’s drug epidemic reaches into all streams of life including an alarming number of health care professionals. People who work in the medical community prescribe and dispense drugs, and the knowledge and opportunity for “drug diversion” can be hard to resist sometimes, even for doctors.

103,000 is the average number of doctors, nurses, medical technicians and health care aides a year abusing or dependent on illicit drugs, according to the latest drug use data from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, released in 2007.

The risks and life threatening situations which can happen to the patients that addicted physicians may be treating is enormous. No one wants to be treated by an important team member who has popped a few pain pills before surgery, for example. Botched surgeries, wrong diagnoses and improper medications are only a few of the problems that can and have happened due to drug abuse.

Putting a career in jeopardy because of a person with substance use disorderion is a tragedy, since most individuals are in health care to help others. For every drug related error caught, consider there are more that are never noticed or documented. Medical professionals often work long hours under high stress and can suffer guilt and depression just like other people, only they have easier access to a variety of drugs.

Anita, a nurse anesthetist in Houston, claims that substance abuse was easy to get away with and no one ever seemed to notice, even after she had put an intravenous port in her ankle to inject drugs quickly and easily.

“The medical community thinks it’s immune from this disease, but that’s not true. There are so many practitioners working impaired and we have no idea.” 

Before getting into treatment, she is not sure how many patients she may have put at risk.

Many addiction specialists believe the immediate way to address the medical community’s drug problem is not through disciplinary actions, but with peer monitoring and intervention, and also continuing education on preventing addiction during their careers.

When you recognize harmful patterns and seek treatment, you can increase your chances of leading a healthier life. Cliffside Malibu is here to support you in your search for an alcohol-free life. We believe you deserve to have a private, comfortable and luxurious environment as you navigate your journey to a sober life. Our center allows you to explore your mental health needs, creates a treatment plan that is unique to you and allows you to discover beneficial coping skills. To learn more about alcohol treatment at Cliffside Malibu, call (855) 403-5641.