Dentists have the same risk of developing substance use disorders (alcohol or drug abuse or dependence) as the general population; 10 to 15 per cent of dentists will have a drug and/or alcohol problem sometime in their lives. Addiction is a human disease, and some of the people who have it are dentists. The disease of addictions shows no favourites.
However, what is different for dentists and other health care professionals from the general population is the public trust that goes with the privilege to practise, and the responsibility to obey the provincial dental act and controlled substance regulations.
It is the dentist’s duty to ensure safe treatment of their patients. An untreated substance use disorder in a dentist can threaten the dentist’s life and family stability and place patients in jeopardy.
The RCDSO has worked with three centres, all well-known for their work in drug and alcohol treatment and recovery, to create a resource network for Ontario dentists. These centres are Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, Ontario, The Farley Center in Williamsburg, Virginia, and the Talbott Recovery Campus in Atlanta, Georgia.
The College is committed to supporting dentists who struggle with addiction.
RCDSO Wellness Consultant
Dr. Graeme Cunningham is available for addressing the assessment and treatment needs of dentists by helping them find suitable assessors, treatment providers and residency programs. His dedicated direct line is 416-722-9997.
All calls are private and confidential.
This disease of addiction shows no favourites. Dentists and other health professionals are susceptible to this disease.
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