Drug Abuse Among Medical Professionals
Doctor shopping and liberal use of internet pharmacies are just two signs of prescription drug abuse, but when it comes to the doctors or pharmacists who have easier access to these addictive substances, how can you tell if there’s drug abuse involved? Frequent drug screenings, quality control measures, and drug abuse awareness training for all employees are good places to start. Zero tolerance policies involving police reports for theft of medications are further deterrents for potential abusers.
Coming Clean Versus Getting Caught
Obviously, the best thing to do when you realize the pills are consuming you is to admit it. Supervisors, licensing boards, patients and colleagues are much more forgiving if you can muster up the courage to speak out and ask for help. Some states even provide both privacy and immunity while you take a leave of absence to enroll in rehab. There is such a thing as a second chance.
When drug abuse is discovered through other means, however, reactions aren’t nearly as supportive. Complaints from patients or co-workers, allegations of theft, police investigations… these things get messy and can ruin the reputation of not only the addict but also the health-care facility and other colleagues to boot.
Drug Rehab for Medical Professionals
While you may get to keep your job without license suspension as a reward for coming clean, the best route for treatment is intensive inpatient rehabilitation. You need to be able to focus on the work of detox and recovery before you can take on the responsibility of administering care to others.
“The success with physicians is higher than the standard population, partly because they have more at stake,” notes Paul Anderson, who runs a treatment program for professionals in Chicago. “There are also very tight monitoring and support systems, and they do very well.”
So don’t despair if you’re struggling with an addiction you can’t control. It might feel like the end of the world, but there is help out there if you’re willing to reach out. It’s a frightening feeling to realize you’re out of control, but a necessary step in order to get back to where you were.
Are you a medical professional struggling with drug and alcohol addiction? Are you in another profession where addiction of any sort is taboo? How did you handle it? What do you recommend to others in the same position?