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Am J Hosp Pharm. 1987 Feb;44(2):311-7.

Use and abuse of controlled substances by pharmacists and pharmacy students.


The use of controlled substances by samples of pharmacists and pharmacy students in one New England state was surveyed. A questionnaire was sent in November 1984 to a sample of 510 pharmacists randomly selected from the membership list of the state's pharmaceutical association and to a sample of 470 students from the state's pharmacy schools; 76% and 67% of the eligible pharmacists and students responded, respectively. The questionnaire elicited information about the respondents' use of controlled substances for self-treatment and recreation, as well as the instrumental use of stimulants to enhance performance. Almost half of the pharmacists (46%) and two thirds of the students (62%) reported using a controlled substance at some time without a prescription; 19% and 41%, respectively, used one within the past year. Whereas students used the drugs most often for recreation (57% ever, 36% currently), use by pharmacists was more equally divided among self-treatment (29% ever, 13% currently), recreation (29% ever, 9% currently), and instrumental purposes (21% ever). The drugs most often used were marijuana, stimulants (especially cocaine by students), tranquilizers, and opiates. Drug use was generally limited in amount, but 18% of the pharmacists and 35% of the students who ever used a drug either became dependent or were at risk of drug abuse. Current drug use was most strongly associated with age, non-attendance at religious services, student access, year in school, and citizenship. The findings of this study suggest the need for continued development of impaired pharmacist committees and drug abuse prevention programs for pharmacists and pharmacy students.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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