Surgeon Substance Abuse: A Real and Present Danger

Michael M. Albrecht, MPAff, MD

The issue of alcohol and substance abuse and dependence in the United States has a significant impact on orthopaedic surgeons. Many of us have spent late nights in the emergency department (ED) treating traumatic injuries resulting from accidents involving alcohol or drugs.

What we are less likely to acknowledge, however, is that healthcare professionals may also abuse and be dependent on drugs and alcohol. During the past decade, front-page stories have drawn attention to the prevalence of substance abuse among U.S. physicians, and particularly among surgeons.

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