Medicine: Doctors v. Dope

As many a novelist has been quick to grasp, the physician's easy access to narcotics is often tragically hard to resist. In California alone, reports the Los Angeles County Medical Bulletin, the state Board of Medical Examiners must consider 50 to 60 cases of addiction or illegal personal use of drugs among doctors every year. Chief excuse offered by errant physicians: "Overwork and fatigue, usually attributed to the size of the practice and to night calls." They also plead such pressures as domestic difficulties and pain of a chronic disease or operation.

But against the piddling 5% average recovery rate among lay...

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