Substance Abuse and Chemical Dependency

1690 Words Jan 28th, 2006 7 Pages
Introduction
According to UAB's health website, "Substance abuse is used to describe a pattern of substance (drug) use leading to significant problems or distress such as failure to attend work/school, substance use in dangerous situations (driving a car), substance-related legal problems, or continued substance use that interferes with friendships and or family relationships. Substance abuse, as a disorder, refers to the abuse of illegal substances or the abusive use of legal substances. Alcohol is the most common legal drug of abuse."
"Chemical dependence is used to describe the compulsive use of chemicals (drugs or alcohol) and the inability to stop using them despite all the problems caused by their use."
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Coombs

"Because people are reluctant to discuss the problem, the extent of drug abuse by healthcare workers is hard to evaluate. With 10 to 15% of all healthcare professionals misusing drugs at some time in their careers, the statistics on drug abuse by professionals seem to show a pattern similar to the general population. But while healthcare professionals abuse drugs at about the same rate as the general population, their choice of drug is different. Healthcare professionals tend to use benzodiazepines and opiates – no doubt because they are more inclined to use the drugs they routinely work with. Use of the traditional recreational drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, is lower than among the population as a whole.
"One reason healthcare professionals may not be detected as drug abusers is that their job performance often seems to be the last thing affected by their drug abuse. In the general community, employers are advised to look for early signs of drug abuse, such as increased rates of absenteeism or decline in job performance, which doesn't seem to be the case with healthcare professionals. Those in healthcare will alienate their families, destroy their finances, drop out of their usual recreations, and only then have their problems show up on the job. Just possibly, impaired healthcare professionals are less likely to miss work simply because they…