Resident Physician Substance Use in the United States

Patrick H. Hughes, MD; Scott E. Conard, MD; DeWitt C. Baldwin Jr, MD; Carla L. Storr, MPH; David V. Sheehan, MD
JAMA. 1991;265(16):2069-2073. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460160047027.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

A national survey was conducted to determine patterns of drug use among 3000 American resident physicians. Sixty percent (1785) of the residents surveyed responded. This report evaluates the prevalence of drug use among the respondents, when they initiated drug use, and their reasons for current use. Substance use rates are compared with other studies of resident physicians and with a sample of their nonphysician age peers surveyed the same year. Heavy substance use patterns were not observed among resident physicians. They had significantly lower rates of use for most psychoactive substances than their peers in the general population but did report higher rates of past-month use of alcohol and benzodiazepines. A sizable minority began using benzodiazepines and prescription opiates during their residency years—the stage in physicians' training when they first receive prescribing privileges. Current users of benzodiazepines and opiates used these drugs primarily for self-treatment rather than recreation. These two substances are often associated with impairment at later stages in the physician's career.

(JAMA. 1991;265:2069-2073)


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.