Review Shows Thousands of Medical Workers Abuse Narcotics

June 21st, 2014 at 10:05 pm

abusing narcotics, abusing prescription drugs, drug abuse, fentanyl, medical workers, oxycodone, prescription drug addiction, substance abuse, Westport medical malpractice attorneyA review conducted by USA TODAY reveals how each year there are over 100,000 medical workers who are addicted to or are abusing prescription narcotics. This means that doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and other health care aides working in hospitals and nursing homes could be putting patients’ lives at risk.

Prescription drug addiction has reached epidemic proportions in this county. According to the review, that epidemic is now also deeply embedded in the medical community, with oxycodone and fentanyl as two of the most common drugs abused by medical workers. Because of the medical knowledge these worker have, they are often able to hide their addictions better than an addict who is not in the medical community.

The publication used data collected from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. According to the agency, in 2007 there were approximately 103,000 medical workers abusing prescription drugs every year. However, other studies have indicated that that number could actually be much higher. This suggests that one in ten medical workers will struggle with addiction at some point.

Part of the problem is that many states lack safeguards which would require a medical facility to report to law enforcement when a medical employee has been fired for stealing or abusing narcotics. This allows the abuser to go from facility to facility for employment. And when a medical worker is stealing drugs for his or her own use, they are putting thousands of lives in danger.

It is also rare for hospitals and medical boards to seek disciplinary actions. In fact, USA TODAY analysis reports that between 2010 and 2013, only less than 750 physicians nationwide “lost hospital privileges or had their licenses revoked or restricted for being unable to practice safely because of drug or alcohol abuse.” One recommendation to help improve this situation, however, is through education and teaching ways to identify drug use to both prevent and treat addiction.

If you believe a loved one in nursing care has suffered from complications caused by negligent medical care, please contact a Westport medical malpractice attorney to discuss compensations he or she may be entitled to for pain and loss.

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