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Doctors may shun drug addiction treatment over medical licensing

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2017 | Medical Licensing

Somewhere in Pennsylvania, there are likely doctors who are battling secret drug addictions. Studies show doctors are definitely not immune to addiction, and, in fact, they develop addictions at the same rate as those outside the medical profession. However, doctors apparently do not seek help to overcome their addictions as often as other people, perhaps because they fear medical licensing problems if they do.

One physician stated he believes many doctors convince themselves that because they possess vast knowledge regarding drugs (and addiction), they will be able to handle their own drug habits without repercussion. In other words, they mistakenly think there is a right and a wrong way to do drugs and as long as they do it the right way, there won’t be a problem. Sadly, many wind up in very grave circumstances before realizing their thought processes are in error.

The former dean of the University of Southern California’s medical school was recently accused of using ecstasy and methamphetamine during his employment at the school. He resigned from his position following a reported incident that he had been with another person who fatally overdosed while they partied. USC announced that the former dean, also a prominent eye surgeon, is no longer seeing patients. The school said it plans to strip him of his tenure and has barred him from campus.

However, the school itself would have no power over the surgeon’s medical licensing. Generally speaking, it is up to the appropriate licensing board as to whether a particular situation warrants a suspension or revocation of a license. In fact, many doctors in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are able to mitigate their circumstances and protect their licenses through reliance on experienced and aggressive legal representation.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Doctors and drug abuse: Why addictions can be so difficult,” Soumya Karlamanga, July 24, 2017