This study examined the outcomes of a sample of 904 physicians who were admitted to Physician Health Programs (PHPs) in 16 states over a 5-year period for substance abuse.
The first phase of the study considered the nature of the PHPs and their system of care management, while the second phase explored how effective the programs were by looking at PHP records. The type of care management that the physicians received bore a close resemblance to the 12-step programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The programs required physicians to abstain from any alcohol or drug use during the course of the study; frequent random tests identified a return to substance abuse.
The researchers found a large majority of physicians (78%) who participated in this study did not test positive for either alcohol or drugs over the 5-year study period. And at post-treatment, 72 percent of all the physicians studied continued to practice medicine.