The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn

Doctors and drug abuse/addiction

It is a sad reality that drug abuse/addiction problems afflict some physicians. A recent review of government data conducted by USA TODAY indicates that, every year, around 103,000 U.S. doctors, health care aides, nurses and medical technicians struggle with drug problems.

In addition to having the potential to cause patients harm, doctor struggles with drug abuse/addiction can have life-changing impacts on a doctor. It can impact the doctor's health and put their reputation at great risk. Also, it can expose a doctor to criminal charges and the possibility of having their medical license, and thus their ability to earn a living in their chosen career, taken away from them. It is possible that authorities and medical boards may become particularly aggressive in taking punitive action against doctors who face drug-related allegations in upcoming years, as patient groups and law enforcement have been pushing to have more done to address drug use by medical professionals.

Here in Pennsylvania, programs have been put in place, such as the Professional Health Monitoring Program and the Physicians Health Program, that are aimed at providing treatment and support to physicians who are struggling with drug problems. Doctors who are facing drug-related allegations may have many questions regarding such programs, such as:

  • What specific services do these programs provide?
  • What does participation in these programs entail?
  • What impacts would participation in these programs have on my rights?
  • How would participation in such programs impact my ability to keep my medical license?

License defense attorneys here in Pennsylvania can help answer such questions, help a physician determine if participation in such programs would be a good choice for them and take actions aimed at furthering the twin goals of protecting a physician's ability to stay in their profession and helping a physician address the underlying issues that led to the physician facing drug allegations. Thus, one of the first things a doctor may want to consider doing upon being accused of drug activity is discussing their situation with such an attorney.

Source: delmarvanow.com, "Doctors on drugs? More than you think," Peter Eisler, April 19, 2014

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