advertiser banner advertiser banner advertiser banner
Digital Issues

Home >  News >  April, 2014

1 in 10 Healthcare Workers Abuse Drugs

Undetected or untreated, impaired providers put patients at risk.

Published: April 16, 2014

More than 100,000 physicians, nurses, techs and other healthcare employees are drug addicts, according to federal data. Those are just the known cases. Studies estimate that 1 in 10 healthcare workers have suffered from substance abuse during their lives.

The issue of impaired providers, along with the drug diversion that often fuels their addictions and the risks it places on their unwitting patients, is complicated by the lack of a consistent and effective response, according to a feature story in the April 16 edition of USA Today.

"Much of the damage goes unnoticed or undocumented; systems to detect, report and address drug problems in health care settings are haphazard and limited," the article notes.

While the cases of some impaired practitioners and oxycodone- or fentanyl-thieving employees have made high-profile headlines, on-the-job substance abuse doesn't always manifest itself in infectious outbreaks, investigations, prosecutions and discipline. Sometimes it goes undetected and results in isolated medical mistakes, medication errors or missed warnings.

Drug-testing regulations and the prescribed response to offenders vary from state to state, the article points out, which opens the door for impaired employees finding work elsewhere without a mark on their records. Additionally, as described in the stories of practitioners who have undergone rehabilitation, the path to professional assistance and recovery is strewn with pitfalls.

David Bernard


Also in the News...

Priest, Doc Say Brooklyn ASC Robbed Them Blind
Man Wins $1.8 Million After Surgeon Removes His Only Remaining Testicle
New Group Hopes to Rid ORs of Surgical Smoke
Tech Claims Hospital Discriminated Against Her After She Started Wearing Hearing Aids
Court Says No to Office-Based Surgery Site's Demand for Facility Fees
Court Backs Hospital's Firing of Employee Who Refused to Work With Difficult Doc
CRE Superbug Sickens 7, Kills 2 in Los Angeles Hospital

 
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

DID YOU SEE THIS?
General Anesthesia

This Emergency Kit Is Designed For Outpatient Surgery

Other Articles That May Interest You

Surgeons' Lounge: Clear Facemask

A See-Through Surgical Mask

Wyoming ASCs' Recovery Care Proposal Iced

Hospital opposition foils plans for outpatient joints.

California Pain Doc Settles Fraudulent Billing Charges for $1.2M

Whistleblower lawsuit uncovered the upcoding of medical services.