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AANA J. 2012 Apr;80(2):120-8.

Opioid abuse among nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists.

Wright EL, McGuinness T, Moneyham LD, Schumacher JE, Zwerling A, Stullenbarger NE.


University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.


Abuse and dependency on potent opioids have long been recognized as problems among nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists. Research has provided insight into the incidence of abuse, risk factors associated with this type of dependency, identification of an impaired provider, treatment for abuse and dependency, and prevention strategies. Although several factors influence the development of abuse and dependency, access to potent opioids likely has a large role. This access also makes returning to practice while in recovery extremely difficult because the temptation for relapse continually surrounds a recovering anesthesia provider. There is research supporting successful reentry of anesthesia providers into the practice of anesthesia; however, research also reveals high relapse rates among anesthesia providers who return to the practice of anesthesia. This article reviews the literature regarding opioid abuse and dependency among nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists and offers implications for future research.

Link to PubMed