May 4, 2021

Dr. Charles Smith, an addictionologist at Recovery First Treatment Center, penned an op-ed for Op-Med on the uptick in alcohol and substance use during the pandemic while detailing his own story of addiction and recovery as a medical professional.

In the piece, Dr. Smith speaks frankly about his experience with alcohol addiction that eventually led to an opioid addiction. He recalls that his addictions began in order to “ease the misery of [his] work environment.” The stress of being a clinician got to be too much for him, and this is a worry he expresses for clinicians and treatment providers who are on the pandemic frontlines.

The pandemic is arguably the worst mass casualty event in modern history. As a result, there has been a significant increase in alcohol consumption, and more people are now admitting to starting or increasing their substance use in order to cope.

Drinking and/or substance use among medical professionals can be dangerous with grave consequences, but as someone who has previously experienced addiction, he knows that many clinicians won’t or don’t view their alcohol consumption as an issue. He then offers tips and advice for those who may be struggling or who think they have a problem.

Dr. Smith’s entire article can be read here.