Doctors May Face High Addiction Risk

By Staff Writer

Medical professionals may be the last group of people that anyone would suspect of substance abuse. However, many of these individuals develop addictions that require treatment from drug rehab facilities.

Experts say that easy access to strong medications combined with knowledge of how to use drugs more safely often combine to contribute to drug abuse and addiction. Richard Ready, the former chief resident of neurosurgery of a Chicago-area hospital, is one professional who fell into this trap, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Ready began using pain medication to alleviate emotional distress following the death of his mother. However, he quickly became addicted, which seriously impaired his ability to function as a surgeon.

“Sometimes I’d be standing in the operating room and it’d look like I had the flu,” Ready told the news source. “So I’d excuse myself and I’d run into the bathroom, eat 10 [Tylenols with codeine], and in maybe five or 10 minutes I’d be normal again.”

Rates of prescription drug abuse are five times higher among physicians, according to a 2008 study published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.