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Does substance abuse always lead to medical license revocation?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2023 | Medical Licensing

Becoming a medical professional requires years of hard work, focus and sacrifice. Even after physicians finally obtain their well-deserved degrees and medical license, they may face considerable stress in the workplace due to the life-and-death situations they deal with.

As a result, it is not unheard of for a healthcare provider to become addicted to a substance. According to the American Addiction Centers, an estimated 100,000 healthcare professionals abuse drugs or alcohol in any given year. Such usage may put their medical licenses at risk.

Inappropriate behavior related to substance abuse can lead to disciplinary hearings

Physicians abusing illicit substances may find themselves arrested or convicted. Even if they avoid reporting such incidents, the medical licensing board will learn of them when renewing their licenses, which may result in disciplinary hearings and other consequences. Similarly, if medical professionals use their position to feed their addictions or come to work under the influence, they may face complaints, too many of which may also lead to the same consequences, which may include the loss of their medical licenses.

Substance abuse does not always lead to immediate license loss

While medical license revocation is a potential consequence of substance abuse by medical professionals, it is not always the result. In certain cases, if the individual agrees to receive treatment and stop the usage, he or she may retain his or her license.

Healthcare providers must witness and deal with difficult and traumatizing situations, which may lead to substance abuse as a way to deal with stress. However, they also fulfill roles that require extreme caution, precision and care. Substance abuse may therefore lead to license revocation, but with the right defense and a willingness to obtain help, it does not have to.