Alcohol and Drug Abuse Among Lawyers

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Patrick Krill, director of the legal professionals program at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, which is a network of addiction treatment centers, stated that the problem of alcohol and drug abuse amongst lawyers and even law students is getting worse. There were post recession layoffs and economic stressors occurring constantly in the past 10 years, so many lawyers are struggling more today than ever before according to Krill. It is for these reasons that lawyer assistance programs are placing greater effort to help those in the field who are going though any problems with alcohol/drugs or mental health. The foundation is also conducting a wide-scale research study of drug abuse in the American Bar Association in order to fully assess the situation; it won't be until next year that the results of the study will be ready.

There were clues of this problem nearly 20 years ago however, that foreshadowed the likelihood of substance abuse in this occupation, such as the statistic that lawyers have 3 times the rate of depression as any other occupational group. They also have higher rates of alcohol and substance abuse as other occupational groups.

An American Bar Association survey from last year showed that 76 percent of problems discussed in the lawyers assistance programs were alcohol related, indicating that alcohol is way ahead in popularity for drugs of choice amongst lawyers. Prescription drug abuse came in second with almost 10 percent of the problems relating to it. In the past few years, the situation has gotten so bad that lawyers are either losing their jobs, or being forced (or demanded) to go to rehab and get sober. Although many have lost their jobs due to substance abuse, many are able to build their careers again and have a second shot, rather than being banned from the ABA altogether. Since many lawyers keep their alcohol or drug abuse a secret, many government employees are noticing the signs of abuse themselves, such as being late to court dates, or missing them, failing to file documents, looking intoxicated in court, drastic changes in their appearance, and mood changes.

Many times, a career or job can stress an individual to the point of drug abuse. They look for ways to cope, and handle the distress in their lives. A career in law, like many other jobs, is one of those occupations that demands a great deal of dedication and work ethic, and along with the recent economic decline and the nationwide problem of job security, the environment for drug or alcohol abuse is well-established in such a demanding field. Addiction treatment and counseling is readily available through the Lawyer Assistance Program for those working specifically in the field of law, as well as aspiring students.

For more information on our addiction treatment programs and therapeutic approaches, call toll free at: 800-960-5041. Florida Center for Recovery offers residential drug and alcohol rehab treatment through 12-Step and Non 12-Step Programs.

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