Lawyers are essential to the running of society. This role is a lot of responsibility to shoulder, no? Cases that are difficult and take a toll both physically and emotionally, on top of long hours can put attorneys at-risk to use and abuse addictive substances. According to a recent study by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Betty Ford Foundation, 36% of attorneys are currently struggling with alcohol abuse. In comparison, it may seem less severe that 9% of attorneys struggle with prescription drug abuse. Those numbers, however, are misleading because being illegal, attorneys won’t admit to using.
Attorneys aren’t the only ones who use substances to cope with various issues. Celebrities from Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe to Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper have struggled with the same issues. Timbaland, significant music influence, recently stated this critical point about his opiate addiction: “I think people forget that we are still human. I had to realize I’m still that guy from the country, Virginia Beach. I’m just great at music. I felt like I was abusing my gift that God gave me. When I was on the drugs, he took that gift away.” Read the full article here. You or an attorney you love do not have to continue to feel the same way.
There is help for attorneys who have become reliant on substances. One of the best resources in Ohio is the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program. They offer confidential support for law students, attorneys, and judges. Issues centering around alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental health are addressed with kindness, confidentiality, and without any reporting requirements. Reach out to them here if you or a loved one is struggling to cope.