Doctors have stressful Iives… So, why should they be allowed to slip through the steely grips of addiction. They have access.., and to be blunt, feel a sense of entitlement. For some doctors, it's the "God-like" image they have of themselves… "I can't be addicted." "And if I am, I'll just heal myself." Unfortunately, it rarely works out that way… And when your doctor is an addict -- we all suffer.
They, not only put their own lives and careers in jeopardy.., but also, those of their patients. Who wants a doctor all pinned-out on opiates.., or tweaking from benzo withdrawals, as they get ready to examine you -- or worse, cut you open. Trembling hands and surgery are not a good match! There are too many stories.., and lawsuits, of doctors that have performed surgery under the influence. Too many lives destroyed, by a stigma (drug abuser) we are only slowly coming to terms with…
There are no country-wide rules preventing doctors from drinking. Nor is there a policy of random blood tests for booze and drugs.
And when a doctor gets addicted.., where do they go for help, if they search it out, at all. They are in fear of losing their job, license to practice medicine -- everything. For them, it is a serious crime.., and that's exactly how they treat it. Yes, there are programs specifically designed, that can help them get back on their feet, with the very real possibility of practicing, again.., but they are seldom sought out.
Some of the highest rates of drug abuse and addiction -- anesthesiologists. There choice of drug.., sedatives, which are highly addictive. 10% to 15% of doctors are addicts (some say 1 in 6), while only 8% to 10% of the public are considered the same. A 2013 study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine revealed that 69% of doctors abused prescription medicine “to relieve stress and physical or emotional pain.”
I had a pretty good idea.., doctors indulged more than us mere mortals. But, I had No Idea its was this bad. I mean, when I was living in LA… I had a doctor (Dr Stan), who I met because he was a regular of mine, at my BAR… And by 11:00pm he was 2 eight-balls deep and pounding the Remy!
Humans in need of relief (even doctors), will to what they have to.., to get it. And when you, take into consideration -- the burnout, anxiety and depression.., doctors are a prime target for all kinds of addiction -- even the, very prescription pills they dole out to the masses. Did you know, doctors are twice as likely to commit suicide, then the rest of us..?
And while most choose painkillers (opiates), their addictions are wide and varied, even alcoholism is very present in the "healthcare" system. A good 10% of all doctors let alcohol effect, not only, there well-being but their practices, as well.
There is a very typical storyline.., running through much of these addicted physicians… Addiction starts due to anxiety, stress, depression, injury -- and some just like to get high.., whether it be drugs or booze. As the usage increases.., and things start to go askew (as with all abuse). They start to delve into that pricy medical school education.., and begin to mix a cocktail of pills, to better hide their addiction. And it's only downhill, from there…
Dr Ramasankerpersad Jairam drank 3 bottles of vodka a day, so soused he barely knew his own name -- while on duty… For a whole year, the staff covered-up his blatant addiction. Colleagues concerned he could die from alcohol poising, took a blood sample -- 5x over the legal drunk-driving limit. Heck, there are MD's hooking themselves up to a saline drip while they sleep to fend-off a hangover. Really?
This superior attitude, coupled with a healthy dose of denial… Is, literally.., killing them. Besides their greater affinity towards suicide.., they are 3x more likely to die from cirrhosis of the liver, too. For those of us, who have experienced addiction -- up-close and personal… Understand, it is a monster of unseen proportions.., and once it wraps itself around you, you are lucky to get out alive.
But there is some encouraging news… When doctors do recognize, they have a substance abuse problem and seek out, some sort of "recovery" program… 75% - 90% are successful, when measured at 5 years and 9. A much more substantial rate, than the masses. But the main program for addicted doctors the, Physician Health Programs (PHP) are 90 days as opposed to a typical 30 day. They cost on average 40k. And once involved in one of these programs, the physician has little choice but to cooperate if they want to practice medicine, again.
Only by accepting just how complex a disease drug addiction truly is can we begin to control this endless epidemic.
And this is not a problem, that is getting remedied, at all… As a matter of fact it is on the rise. Dr. Jeffrey Silverstein, an anesthesiologist in New York, has written several papers on addiction amongst medical professionals. And while it is nearly impossible, due to the lack of transparency, and doctors not willing to rat on other doctors… The problem of "socially acceptable" alcohol abuse, has blossomed into a hardcore drug addiction problem, among there very own.
Some of these "medical professionals" are so far down the rabbit hole.., they will divert drugs from their patients, to themselves. And in the process, put their unwitting patient at risk of disease (when needles are involved), as well as, lack of proper medication dose. If this sounds fantastical or unbelievable… I will point to, David M. Kwiatkowski -- who was sentenced to 39 years in prison for spreading his hepatitis C to 45 patients, one later dying.
The problem has gotten so out of control, that even the almighty drug companies are starting to hell the heat. Worried about any further regulations coming down the pipeline, that could cut into their ridiculously massive profits.., they have implemented a drug diversion campaign to get out in front of this coming epidemic. Another "smoke-screen" for the the masses.., while ordinary people continue to die.
Purdue Pharma and its top executives pleaded guilty to charges that it misled doctors and patients about the addictive properties of OxyContin and misbranded the product as "abuse resistant." A corporate culture that allowed this product to be misbranded with the intent to defraud and mislead. Mike Mariani, Pacific Standard
Prescription pills were responsible for over 23,000 deaths in 2013 (pharmaceutical abuse).., according to the CDC . And in the same year, was the leading cause of death of people between the ages of 25-64 years old. And now, this hopeless epidemic has weaseled it's way into the very profession, that people look to for answers… And, in my humble opinion.., as long as the drug companies are calling the shots -- they don't stand a chance.
Lord knows.., Im no teetotaler, and have, and still -- enjoy my fair share of "party favors." But Im not going to cut open someones's back tomorrow morning. We all make choices, in our lives, everyday.., that can effect the outcome of other people's lives -- "should I drive or not?" if you have to ask -- DON'T DRIVE! And Im aware, completely aware.., that addiction is a disease -- but if almost, every decision you make on a daily basis effects the outcome of life or death… Do us all a favor.., and get some help!
Image Source: 1