Does pharmacy work put one at risk for a substance use disorder?

The general public depends on pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to safely and accurately administer prescription medications under the advice of a physician. The public counts on these professionals to know when two or more medications might interact with each other as well as be aware of other safety measures.

However, the people who work in a pharmacy may be prone to misusing medications themselves. Does pharmacy work put one at risk for a substance use disorder?

Exposure and accessibility

High levels of exposure and accessibility to medications may put some pharmacy workers at risk for abusing one or more of those drugs. In addition, the stress of healthcare jobs in general, which leave little room for error, may make an already vulnerable person more likely to turn to substances to cope with stress and anxiety.

Regulations to prevent misuse

Like all health care professions, the pharmacy field has many rules and regulations that workers must follow in order to keep their licenses and remain in business. For example, many states have electronic databases that they monitor to ensure that pharmacies can account for all controlled substances. This is to help prevent not only misuse by patients but by employees as well.

When someone works in a professional field that requires licensure, it is important that they are aware of any risks involved that could threaten their license and, therefore, their livelihood. For pharmacy workers, this involves being cognizant of substance use disorders and adhering to the policies in place to help prevent misuse.