Purpose of review: Anaesthesiologists have a significantly higher frequency of substance abuse by a factor of nearly 3 when compared with other physicians. This is still a current problem that must be reviewed. Recent findings: Many hypotheses have been formulated to explain why anaesthesiologists appear to be more susceptible to substance abuse than other medical professionals (genetic differences in sensitivity to opioids, stress, the association between chemical dependence and other psychopathology or the second-hand exposure hypothesis). Environmental exposure and sensitization may be an important risk factor in physician addiction. There is a long debate about returning to work for an anaesthetist who has been depending on opioid drugs, and recent debates are discussed. Institutional efforts have been made in many countries and physician health programmes have been developed. Summary: As drug abuse among anaesthesiologists has continued, new studies have been conducted to know the theories about susceptibility. Written substance abuse policies and controls must be taken in place and in all countries. © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
- Drug addiction: opioids
- Substance abuse