Old news, 2007 Impaired healthcare professional study
Although the rates of substance abuse and dependence are similar to those of the general population, the prevalence is disturbing because healthcare professionals are the caregivers responsible for the general health and well-being of the general population. Healthcare professionals have higher rates of abuse with benzodiazepines and opiates. Specialties such as anesthesia, emergency medicine, and psychiatry have higher rates of drug abuse, probably related to the high-risk environment associated with these specialties, the baseline personalities of these healthcare providers, and easy access to drugs in these areas. Drugs and alcohol are mostly used for "recreational" purposes by medical students. Residents and attending physicians use drugs of abuse for performance enhancement and as self-treatment for various reasons, such as, pain, anxiety, or depression.
Medical care is not an island, it is a team. For any provider to provide safe patient care, they rely on a whole host of other team members..Nurses, Radiologists, anesthesiologist, technicians, it is a long list that all need to perform for the teams outcome to provide safe effective care to any patient.. With that in mind...
2012 Archives of Surgery: 15% of U.S. Surgeons Report Drinking Problems in Survey. Those figures exceed the 8 percent to 12 percent figure typically cited for alcohol abuse rates among the public at large. Survey lead author Dr. Michael Oreskovich, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle ….
America’s Biggest Drug Problem Isn’t Heroin, It’s Doctors Painkillers prescribed by both well-intentioned doctors and so-called "criminals in white coats" are driving the overdose epidemic. States and cities are pioneering ways to control it.
Journal of Addiction Medicine "Stress Leads Some Doctors to Abuse Prescription Drugs, Study Says Physicians in recovery also described self-medicating for pain, depression and anxiety. The huge difference is that doctors have unique access to prescription drugs," said Boyd, who also is a former associate director of the Massachusetts PHP. Once an addiction sets in, Merlo said, doctors may need to resort to sneaky methods to get their drugs. Since they cannot self-prescribe narcotics, they can get a friend to do it or steal from patients or the hospital where they work.
Easy Access Makes Addiction More Likely
Physicians aren't unlike many other people who turn to painkillers, antidepressants, and other prescription drugs as a way of coping with pain and life struggles. What sets them apart, however, is their access to medicines. Given their prescribing privileges, networks of professional contacts, and proximity to hospital and clinic supplies, physicians have rare access to powerful, highly sought-after drugs.
That access can not only foment a problem, it can perpetuate it, says Marvin D. Seppala, MD, chief medical officer at Hazelden, which operates 11 addiction treatment centers in the United States.
Drug diversion (providers taking patients pain meds to feed their own addictions) The problem is huge, it's growing, it's often swept under the rug or ignored, and we only know about the tip of the iceberg. Federal health officials have sounded an alarm this week about a group of healthcare workers who are surely harming patients somewhere this very minute, engaging in behaviors about which most hospital officials are unaware or choose to ignore. USA TODAY report