Lawyers are Twice as Likely to be Addicts


Judges, lawyers, and others in the legal profession have twice the rate of addiction as regular Americans, says Patrick Krill, the director of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's treatment program devoted to judges and attorneys.

In NPR's "Opioid Abuse Takes A Toll On Workers And Their Employers" by Yuki Noguchi, Krill and others explain how prescription drug abuse is challenging the employers in the legal sector and other industries. One of the big reasons attorneys are so affected is -- in addition to chronic stress and deadlines -- is that lawyers aren't as likely as other employees to be questioned. "The more professional stature you have, the less likely you are going to be forced into recovery, and the longer your addiction is likely to go on unchecked," Krill says.

While some employees can hide their addiction for years, others show up late to work or can't think as clearly -- ultimately leading to their termination. Currently few employers test for opioids, but the number is likely to go up as the financial impact of abuse increases. In 2007, for example, abuse of prescription opioids cost employers $25 billion. 

If you or a colleague needs assistance with coping with stress or addiction, check with your bar association to find resources tailored for attorneys. Also consider the ways in which mindfulness -- whether in the form of yoga, mediation, or kayaking -- can help you reduce stress and be a more successful lawyer.

Read the full story at NPR: “Opioid Abuse Takes A Toll On Workers And Their Employers