The problem of substance use disorder (SUD) among physician anesthesiologists and anesthesiology residents was recently highlighted in an article published in the December 2013 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study spanned from 1975 to 2009 and evaluates trends in incidence rates, relapse and mortality. The data presented suggest a relapse rate greater than 40 percent and a risk of death related to substance abuse greater than 10 percent.

I sat down with two of the article’s authors, Keith Berge, M.D. and David O. Warner, M.D., to discuss these findings and examine the ways in which our specialty might best proceed with this information. The opinions expressed below are those of Drs. Berge and Warner and do not reflect the views of ASA or the American Board of Anesthesiology.

In your article, you explain there aren’t any studies validating the perception that physician anesthesiologists are...

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