What to do if you are a Physician With a Substance Abuse Problem

Physicians, not unlike the rest of the world, have problems in their lives. Nobody is perfect, not even the people in charge of helping other people. However, if you are a physician with a substance abuse problem, many people will believe it is impossible for you to take care of others if you are incapable of helping yourself. A substance abuse problem, whether it be drugs or alcohol, is nothing to be ashamed of, and it does not make you weak. However, you must do what you can to correct this habit as soon as possible. If you do not, the pain you will feel after losing your medical license and livelihood may be far worse than the process of getting clean. Additionally, as a physician, knowing most addicts in recovery are in a better place than where they started should comfort you in your journey to sobriety. If you have a substance abuse problem, here are some of the questions you may have:

Am I putting my job in jeopardy if I have a substance abuse problem?

Unfortunately, yes you are, even if you believe your addiction has no effect on your ability to perform whatsoever. If someone believes you have a substance abuse problem and registers a complaint against you, OPMC or OPD may come to interview you. This is a grave situation, because you very well may lose your medical license right then and there. If they feel you are impaired because of a substance abuse issue, they will not want you treating any patients at all. 

How can I protect myself?

Fortunately, you can avoid this situation altogether if you act now. If you know you have a substance abuse problem, you must go to the Committee on Physicians Health as soon as you can. This Committee, under the New York State Medical Board, will help you enter a program and get into rehabilitation. Most importantly, this is a golden opportunity to shake whatever vice is coming in between you and your life. Additionally, let’s say you are in the program for several months, a year, or more, and then OPMC or OPD find out that you had a substance abuse problem. In this case, there is a very good chance they will not permanently revoke your medical license, as they will see that you recognize you have a problem and have been actively addressing the issue for some time. In short, if you have a substance abuse problem, take care of it–for your family, for yourself, and for your livelihood.

Contact our experienced New York City firm

When a medical professional is accused of misconduct, it is essential that they retain strong legal representation. If you require a medical law attorney for your legal matters, call Paul E. Walker, an experienced New York City OPMC & OPD Lawyer. Please contact the Walker Medical Law firm to set up a free initial consultation.