Is your doctor an addict?

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The United States is synonymous with addiction.

In a given year, as many as 46.8 million (16.7%) Americans over the age of 12 are diagnosed with a substance use disorder. Doctors have never been busier – or more addicted to substances. They are not immune to the deathly grip of addiction. It is estimated that up to 15% of doctors are battling with drug and/or alcohol dependency. That means for every seven doctors, at least one of them is an addict. 

A recent report by American Addiction Centers shines a much-needed light on the many substances used and abused by physicians. Interestingly, different disciplines are associated with different types of substance abuse.

A recent report by American Addiction Centers shines a much-needed light on the many substances used and abused by physicians. (iStock)

Take anesthesiologists, for example. Many who are addicted are typically hooked on potent intravenous opioids like fentanyl and sufentanil. These drugs are often taken from the workplace, sometimes from their own patients. 

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Several factors contribute to the high prevalence of drug abuse among anesthesiologists, including their close proximity to highly addictive substances in the operating room, the ease of diverting these drugs for personal consumption, and the stressful work environment they operate in. 

Additionally, according to the report, there is evidence suggesting that exposure to aerosolized intravenous anesthetics

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