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A Piece of My Mind
May 19, 2010

Intellectualization of Drug Abuse

JAMA. 2010;303(19):1894-1895. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.581

Health care professionals and physicians in particular have rates of substance abuse that are equal to and often exceed those observed in the general public.1,2 These estimates may even be low, as many studies rely on self-reported data. Health care professionals presumably use drugs for many of the same reasons as those of the general population. Nonetheless, given the intelligence, years of education, and high levels of achievement found in this group, the relatively high incidence of substance abuse may be somewhat surprising. Ease of access to drugs is commonly cited, particularly with respect to the high rates of drug abuse among anesthesiologists3; however, given the complex nature of addiction, the underlying causes are assuredly myriad.

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