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Substance Abuse Awareness in the Healthcare Industry

As we approach the new year, HR departments are preparing to update hiring processes and screening methods. As you probably already know, addiction does not discriminate. Executives and professionals across the corporate hierarchy can all fall victim to substance abuse. No matter the industry, HR departments are discovering increases in addiction rates. Coping with stress, trying to get more sleep, and the need to multi-task can cause even the most talented employees to resort to drastic, unhealthy measures.

With easy access and the power of their signature, physicians could likely be abusing drugs and endangering patients at hospitals within any department. This has been a documented problem in the healthcare industry since the 1800s. Since then, abuse of a multitude of different drugs has been on the rise. 

A recent study by the University of Florida’s Center for Addiction Research and Education interviewed 55 physicians for alcohol and drug-abuse related problems to show that 38 of the doctors were abusing prescription drugs (69 percent). Doctors dealing with addiction revealed they resorted to drug use because they were overwhelmed, in pain, and stressed. Quite frankly, stealing drugs is an easy task for those driven by addiction.

“Doctors are prone to drug addiction and alcohol abuse,” said Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a medical professional who was once suffered from an opioid addiction and later wrote the book, Free Refills.

Physicians and medical professionals also have a strong ability to recover from addiction. With that in mind, invite employees to feel safe and seek help. However, it should be noted that those addicted to opioids face a higher risk of relapse. HR departments should provide professional support and the resources necessary to keep physicians safe from losing their license or even harming a patient. Each state has its own impaired physician program in efforts to keep hospitals safe. Visit the Federation of State Physician Health Programs website to learn about your state’s policies and procedures.

While employees should be held accountable to avoid abusing drugs and alcohol, HR departments should be held accountable to conduct audits of work environments and employee relations. Professionals shouldn’t feel the need to resort to substance abuse to cope with problems at work. In addition, companies shouldn’t assume that most experienced doctors or executives would never bring drugs into the workplace. From custodians to surgeons, screen all employees no matter their credentials. Contact us today to learn about our screening services. Fill out an online contact form or call us at (888) 636-3694.

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