The Cleveland Plain Dealer posted an article Tuesday night about the longstanding — and arguably worsening — problem of prescription drug abuse among health professionals.
The part of the story I found most compelling was the section on D. Christopher Hart, a disgraced pharmacist who has worked hard to redeem himself by educating others. His story:
Hart, 54, lost his Ohio pharmacy license in December 2004, after being caught a second time taking Vicodin from pharmacies where he worked. The first time, in the early ’90s, his license was suspended. He went through treatment and five years of drug testing and AA meetings.
The second time, his license was revoked.
He had been stealing about 15 pills a day, which he said made him feel euphoric, “like a superpharmacist.” He thought he could manage it because he was the drug expert. “Then the disease kicks in, and you have no control,” he said.
Today, Hart lectures on the perils of addiction as an instructor at three Ohio pharmacy schools. He started the class at Ohio Northern University in 2005 with 10 students. Now the class is regularly filled. This fall he added teaching duties at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy in Portage County.
“Somebody in recovery needs to teach this course,” Hart said. “Students want to hear this kind of stuff. The situation is out there. Let’s not stick our heads in the sand.”