Anesthesiologists: Substance Abuse

In addition to abuse of IV agents, including propofol, [Wischmeyer et al], abuse of volatile agents has also been documents [Zacny and Galinkin]. It is estimated that the incidence of substance abuse among physicians is 2.1% annually (or 7.9% over one’s lifetime) [Hughes]. Drug abuse in anesthesiologists is estimated to be between 1 and 2% [Ward et al, Gravenstein et al, Menk et al]. That said, anesthesiologists comprise a disproportionate percentage of physicians in treatment centers, likely because they either a) are more likely to be reported b) are more likely to self-report or c) have access to more potent pharmacologic agents (in general, there is an inverse relationship between drug potency and time to discovery).

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