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September 20, 1976

Drug Addiction Among Physicians: The Virginia Experience

Author Affiliations

From the Virginia State Board of Medicine, Portsmouth.

JAMA. 1976;236(12):1372-1375. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270130034023

Drug addiction among physicians appears to be an occupational hazard, with chronic pain, depression, and the easy availability of drugs major factors leading to addiction. In this study of 46 cases of physician addicts handled by the Virginia State Board of Medicine, meperidine hydrochloride (Demerol) was the most frequent addictive agent. The Virginia disciplinary and therapeutic plan for addicted physicians was effective in successfully rehabilitating and returning to medical practice 72% of the 46 physician addicts reported to the board from 1949 to 1974.

(JAMA 236:1372-1375, 1976)