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Running Head: Handling Substance Dependence/Abuse Issues
Handling Substance Dependence/Abuse Issues Among Health Care Professionals:
A Comparison Between Health Care and the General Population
Stacy L. D’Alessio
University of Maryland University College
This paper explores published works that report on results from research conducted
on-line and off-line. The paper examines substance dependence and abuse in health care organizations and comparisons of substance dependence/abuse among heath care professionals in comparison to the general population. The paper also further examines the terminology and history relevant to substance abuse in health care. By exploring the steps necessary to detect and identify substance abuse, the paper suggests methods of detection and identification. Ultimately, the paper evaluates the ethical and moral obligation of health care professionals in regards to dealing with substance dependence and abuse.
The prevalence of substance use among health care professionals is about the same as that of the general population, between ten and fifteen percent. However, beginning with medical school, use of controlled substances tends to increase in physicians relative to the general population. This can be due to the constant exposure of narcotics and accessibility. This constant exposure can be difficult for those who are already predisposed to addiction genetically or have experienced addiction in the past. Further, some health care professionals experiment with drug use out of curiosity for what their patients feel. This is especially apparent for those who work in anesthesiology where it may be easy to access drugs like morphine. Health Care professionals have a great moral and ethical obligation to report substance abuse among their organizations. Furthermore, health care organizations must educate their employees on how to address substance dependence/abuse issues and the steps...
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