REDUCE RISK OF SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER IN ANAESTHESIOLOGISTS

Any physician can suffer from substance use disorder. Anesthetists may have an increased risk because of access to the highest risk medications.

The effects of substance use on a physician’s career and their families can be devastating. Prevention, early detection, access to treatment and follow up, and safe medication management may all contribute to better outcomes.

Learn more about the early signs of substance use disorder, and how and where to get help if you self-identify or identify a colleague who may be struggling.

What you can do to help

  • Withdrawal from family, friends and leisure activities
  • Mood swing, with periods of depression alternating with period of euphoria
  • Increased episodes of anger, irritability and hostility
  • Spending more time where they have access to high-risk medications, like at the hospital, even when off duty
  • Volunteering for extra call
  • Refusing relief for lunch or coffee breaks
  • Requesting frequent bathroom breaks
  • Signing out increasing amount of narcotics or quantities inappropriate for the given case
  • Weight loss and pale skin
 

What happens if I contact the CPSA’s Physician Health Monitoring Program (PHMP) about my own health condition?
You can confidentially contact the Assistant Registrar with the CPSA’s Physician Health Monitoring Program. You do not have to give any identification to request information about substance use or the possible impact on a physician’s practice. If you have a health condition that may impact the safety of your patients, however, you are required to self-report to the College. For more information: CPSA’s Standard of Practice: Self Reporting to the College.

What should I do if I have concerns about a colleague?
Contact the Assistant Registrar with the CPSA’s Physician Health Monitoring Program (PHMP). Reporting is confidential and non-nominal. A physician must report another physician to the College when the first physician believes, on reasonable grounds, that the conduct of the other physician places patients at risk or is considered unprofessional conduct under the Health Professions Act. If you’re treating a physician who has a health condition that may impact the safety of their patients, you have a duty to report to the College. Click on the link for more information on the CPSA’s Standard of Practice: Duty to Report a Colleague.

What happens if a colleague has reported me to the College?
The Assistant Registrar will contact you to discuss the next steps. We may refer you to the AMA Physician Family Support Program and suggest you obtain legal counsel. Approximately 90% of physicians involved the Physician Health Monitoring Program are currently practicing medicine.


What happens if I contact the AMA’s Physician and Family Support Program (PFSP) about my own health condition?

When you call the AMA’s assistance line (1-877-767-4637), you will be connected to one of the PFSP’s Assessment Physicians who will discuss your concerns and suggest resources. In cases where substance use is identified, you will be asked to consent to speaking with the PFSP Clinical Director. We may request to meet with you in person so we can discuss your concerns in detail and offer assistance with accessing assessment, treatment or other resources necessary to meet your needs. All involvement with PFSP is voluntary.

What happens if I contact PFSP regarding concerns about a colleague?
When you call the AMA’s assistance line about a colleague, you will be connected to a PFSP Assessment Physician who will discuss the situation with you and suggest possible courses of action. You are not required to identify your colleague. You may be asked to consent to speak with a Clinical Director. The AMA will not contact the colleague of concern directly, but may strongly suggest the colleague or other concerned parties contact the AMA so they can offer assistance.