Addiction And Heath Professionals



With such staggering rates of drug abuse among the employed, I began to ask myself how prevalent drug abuse is among health professionals. Namely, those that are pharmacists, nurses, and doctors in all specialties. Most drug use that is publicized is about those in the inner city found to have two kilos of cocaine or such sensationalist stories that the media can sell. In fact, 74% of all drug users are employed (Bahls, 1998). What risks does a health professional face in terms of forming an addiction that other employees may not face? The risks appear to be imminent and great. For example, what role does accessibility play in a drug-addicted health professional? Although the subject ...

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his/her job. The problem concerning addicted health professionals seems to affect the public as most of us seek healthcare at one time or another in our lifetimes.
First, the definition of impairment must be addressed. According to the American Medical Association’s Council on Mental Health, impairment is "the inability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reasons of physical or mental illness, including alcoholism or drug dependence" (Ariseiguieta, 1998). IN fact, 80-94% of all cases investigated by state physician impairment programs involve alcohol and drug addictions (Centrella, 1994). Drug or alcohol impairment not only hurt the user but may certainly lead to negligence on the job. Every year in the United States 150,000-300,000 deaths or injuries occur as a result of medical negligence. This undoubtably includes doctors who misuse drugs (Coombs, 1996). Indeed, a strong correlation exist between chemical dependence and malpractice.
Are ...

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than the general public (Hughes, 1992). One statistic that has been proven is that anesthesiologists appear to be at highest risk for developing an addiction (Collins, 1998). This is because they have ready access to drugs, often experience life-and-death decisions, and have long hours. Fentanyl, a drug twenty to thirty times more potent than morphine, is the most popular drug abused by anesthesiologists (Coombs, 1997). To give an ideal of the prevalence of drug dependence in the field, one chairman of a prestigious department reported that 30% of his staff were addicted (Coombs, 1997).
Why may there be a higher prevalence of drug dependence among health professionals? What ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 5/12/2005 11:38:55 PM
Category: Health & Medicine
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1631
Pages: 6

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