Physicians find it difficult to discuss substance use by colleagues

3 April 2020

97% of Dutch physicians of the “physicians panel” say that if they suspect a fellow physician is suffering from substance use (alcohol, drugs or medication) they will discuss this with that colleague.

29% of physicians reported experience with a presumption of substance use in a colleague. Whilst most physicians intend to take action upon such a presumption, 65% actually do act upon a presumption, a third of the doctors did not (yet) take action. A big gap between intention and behaviour.

This is evident from a panel survey of 1,685 physicians that NISPA / Radboud UMC carried out on behalf of the Royal Dutch Medical Association. The results have now been published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. Most physicians agreed that addiction can happen to anyone (67%), is not a sign of weakness (78%) and that it is a disease that can be treated (83%). Substance use in a working context was perceived as unacceptable (alcohol at work: 99%, alcohol during a standby duty: 91%, alcohol in the eight hours before work: 77%, and illicit drugs in the eight hours before work: 97%).



Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP
P.O. Box 9769
3506 GT Utrecht
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30-6565041
F: +31 (0)30-6565043