Drug-addicted anesthesiologists pose danger

Anesthesiologists – the doctors who keep patients alive during surgery, who essentially take over our breathing – make up just three per cent of all doctors, but account for 20 to 30 per cent of drug-addicted MDs. Experts say anesthesiologists are overrepresented in addiction treatment programs by a ratio of three to one, compared with any other physician group, an occupational hazard that could pose catastrophic risks to their patients.

Their drugs of choice are most frequently fentanyl and sufentanil, opioids that are 100 and 1,000 times more potent than morphine. They “divert” a portion of the doses meant for their patients to themselves, slipping syringes into their pockets.

And later, alone in the bathroom or the call room, when the drug hits their own bloodstream, the relief, the sense that all is well in the world, the mild euphoria, is immediate.

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Possible Canadian Policy on Alcohol Abuse

Canadian Flag Sailing down the alcohol River Canadian Plan to Reduce Costs of Alcohol Abuse

Canada’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health has released a six-point plan to reduce the fiscal impact of alcohol abuse, which the report says costs every Canadian $463 annually, the CBC News reported June 11.

The Avoidable Cost of Alcohol Abuse in Canada 2002 report said that six public policy steps could save 800 lives and $1 billion annually.

These include;

  • increasing taxes on alcohol (the study proposed a 25-percent increase);
  • lowering the blood-alcohol concentration standard from .08 percent to .05 percent;
  • implementing a zero-tolerance policy on BAC levels for drivers under the age of 21;
  • increasing the minimum legal drinking age from 19 to 21;
  • increasing enforcement aimed at public intoxication and underage drinking; and
  • boosting counseling with at-risk drinkers in doctors’ offices.

Projected cost savings include $561 million in lower productivity losses, $230 million in reduced healthcare costs, and $187 million in crime-related costs.

“It’s clear that the largest impact would come from interventions affecting the level of drinking in general such as brief interventions and increasing alcohol taxation,” said CAMH senior scientist Dr. Jürgen Rehm. “However, the greatest overall cost avoidance would be achieved when multiple rather than single … alcohol interventions are implemented as part of a comprehensive alcohol policy.” 

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Raise Booze Taxes

beer Tax hike on booze is the right way forward, say doctors from the British Medical Association

The BMA is pleased that one of the recommendations in its recent report on alcohol misuse, to increase taxation on alcohol, has been adopted by the Chancellor of Exchequer, Alistair Darling, in today’s (Wednesday 12 March 2008) budget.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA’s Head of Science and Ethics, said: “It is very important that tax increases on alcohol are part of a larger plan to reduce problem drinking.” She added:

“The evidence tells us that the cheaper and more accessible alcohol is the more people will drink. The government needs to tackle this issue so it’s good news that ministers have made a start today. These tax increases may be unpopular with some members of the public but we hope that they will look at the wider issue and recognise that the UK has a real problem on its hands regarding alcohol misuse. Tough action is needed. The UK is one of the heaviest alcohol consuming countries in Europe.

“Drinking in moderation is enjoyable and may be good for you. Drinking way over the recommended guidelines costs many people their health and ultimately their lives. The UK spends millions of pounds every year on treating people with alcohol problems and dealing with the crime and violence often associated with alcohol misuse.”

British Medical Association