Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Clinical Research

Drug abuse amongst anesthetists in Brazil: a national survey

Gabriel Soares de Sousa, Michael Gerald Fitzsimons, Ariel Mueller, Vinicius Caldeira Quintão, Cláudia Marquez Simões

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The prevalence of Substance Use Disorders (SUD) and acceptance of drug testing among anesthetists in Brazil has not been determined.

An internet-based survey was performed to investigate the prevalence of SUD among anesthetists in Brazil, to explore the attitudes of anesthetists regarding whether SUD jeopardizes the health of an impaired provider or their patient, and to determine the provider’s perspective regarding acceptance and effectiveness of drug testing to reduce SUD. The questionnaire was distributed via social media. REDCap was utilized to capture data. A sample size of 350 to achieve a confidence level of 95% and confidence interval of 5 was estimated. Study report was based on STROBE and CHERRIES statements.

The survey was returned from 1,295 individuals. Most individuals knew an anesthesia provider with a SUD (82.07%), while 23% admitted personal use. The most common identified substances of abuse were opioids (67.05%). Very few respondents worked in a setting that performs drug testing (n = 17, 1.33%). Most individuals believed that drug testing could improve personal safety (82.83%) or the safety of patients (85.41%). Individuals with a personal history of SUD were less likely to believe in the effectiveness of drug testing to reduce one’s own risk (74.92% vs. 85.18%, p < 0.0001) or improve the safety of patients (76.27% vs. 88.13%, p < 0.001).

SUDs are common among anesthetists in Brazil. Drug testing would be accepted as a viable means to reduce the incidence although a larger study should be performed to investigate the logistical feasibility.


Anesthesiology,  Drug testing,  Occupational diseases,  Patient safety,  Substance use disorders


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