Opioid-Abusing Health Care Professionals: Options for Treatment and Returning to Work After Treatment

Abstract: We congratulate Mayo Clinic Proceedings and the authors Hamza and Bryson1 on their decision to publish an important and controversial article about the use of buprenorphine maintenance treatment in opioid-dependent health care professionals (HCPs). (Buprenorphine is a semisynthetic opioid agonist-antagonist drug with adverse effects shared with other opioids. It is sometimes used to treat opioid addiction, much as methadone is used.) The Hamza and Bryson article sheds light on some of the problems associated with this practice and with the state monitoring systems (eg, physician health programs [PHPs]) that are in place to secure recovery from addiction and protect the public.

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