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Data points to pervasive drug abuse among medical professionals

Prescription drug abuse is running rampant. Patients who count on medical professionals for treatment now have to worry about doctors and nurses being impaired from the very drugs they should be administering to patients. Obviously, this situation can lead to devastating medical outcomes.

One of the reasons for the prevalence of drug abuse among medical professionals is the ease with which drugs can be obtained.  It is estimated that more than 100,000 medical professionals abuse medications or have become addicted to them each year. Fentanyl and oxycodone are two of the most commonly abused narcotics.

One surgeon acknowledged that he abused prescription drugs during his residency in Pennsylvania. The man said that he would sometimes go into the bathroom to take medication during a long surgery. He said that he didn't even regard himself as impaired at the time and could easily hide his drug abuse. He started using narcotics in the 1990s because of a neck injury but later began to abuse painkillers. He forged prescriptions and got prescriptions from many doctors until his pharmacist became suspicious and worked with a mutual friend to convince the doctor to seek treatment.

When a medical professional starts abusing drugs,


can occur because of the impaired state of the care provider. Despite this fact, drug testing isn't all that common. Privacy concerns and the cost of administering drug tests seem to be the two main issues that prevent random toxicology screenings from becoming the norm.


Any patient who has been harmed by a medical professional’s negligence deserves justice. The losses resulting from a medical injury can be immense, and it is only fair that victims of medical malpractice receive the compensation they need for care now and in the future.

Source: KTVB.com, "Doctors, medical staff on drugs put patients at risk," Peter Eisler, April 16, 2014

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