DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s a serious public health problem, but when doctors abuse drugs, it can also put patients at risk.

Mayo Clinic researchers examined substance abuse among anesthesiology residents entering their primary training over three decades beginning in the mid-70s.

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The study found substance abuse disorders increased over the study period and the risk of relapse was high.

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Anesthesiologists have special access to strong I-V opiate drugs, although only indirect evidence exists that substance abuse is more common among them than other doctors, according to background information from the study.

Researchers found risk of death was also high.

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Eleven percent died of a cause directly related to substance abuse.