Lawyers report high rates of alcohol abuse

The first major study of substance abuse among lawyers in more than 25 years has revealed significant rates of problems with alcohol.

The study, sponsored by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association, surveyed more than 12,800 lawyers. About 11,200 of the lawyers completed a section that screened for alcohol problems, and the results showed that more than 20% of the lawyers scored “at a level consistent with problematic drinking.”

Younger lawyers were more likely to drink heavily; the rate of alcohol use declined with age.

Only about 25% of the lawyers completed a section that asked about drug use. Patrick Krill, the study’s lead author, suggested this was because a large number of lawyers were afraid to answer the questions.

Of the lawyers who did answer, the largest number reported using sedatives (16%), followed by marijuana (10%), and cocaine and opioids (both 5%).

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