You may be surprised to learn that between 10 and 14 percent of doctors and nurses in the United States are suffering from a substance use disorder. Though some may abuse alcohol or other substances, unfortunately, the high volume of opioid drugs has created a serious problem among medical professionals who have easy access to these substances as well as high-stress jobs that require ways of coping. As a result, many doctors—and especially anesthesiologists—suffer from opioid abuse and addiction.
80 percent of residency programs have admitted they face problems with anesthesiologists becoming impaired on their own medications. This is a serious issue. Though this population has access to almost all types of drugs—especially opioids—fentanyl is the number one drug of abuse among this population. A study of U.S. medical schools that specialize in anesthesiology found that 64 percent of students who suffered from drug abuse disorders favored fentanyl above other drugs.
Fentanyl is not only popular among doctors, but it has also become a heroin substitute in recent years. Many people even cut heroin with this drug. However, fentanyl is almost 100 times stronger than heroin, making it incredibly dangerous to abuse. As a result, it is causing more and more deaths each year with over 20,000 deaths caused by fentanyl in 2016 alone.
Those who misuse fentanyl put themselves at serious risk of addiction, dependence, and overdose as well as other effects. If you know someone who has been abusing fentanyl, it is time to seek help.