Studies show at least one of every 10 doctors abuse drugs or alcohol during their careers. Pilots, bus drivers, police officers and other people in safety-sensitive jobs are drug tested. Even Disney cast members are drug tested. Shouldn’t the doctor performing your open heart surgery be drug tested, too?
There’s a push in California — led by the father of two young children killed by a drug abuser – to require drug testing of doctors. Doctors and health care organizations are fighting the initiative according to the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog.
Substance abuse runs twice as high among doctors as it does among the general population — 18% of physicians according to the California Medical Board.
One father, who lost two young children to an addict’s driving and reckless prescribing, Bob Pack, is circulating a ballot measure in California called the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, to require mandatory drug and alcohol testing for doctors. It would also force doctors to check an electronic database for a patient’s prescription history before prescribing narcotics and to index for inflation a 38-year-old cap on medical malpractice victims’ recovery.
To make the case, a short funny musical video called “Pee in the Cup” will be circulating around Disneyland on a mobile billboard this weekend, where the California Medical Association is meeting. See the video here.
The initiative is proposed for the November 2014 ballot. The Pack Patient Safety Act would also require doctors to report colleagues who are under the influence while on duty.