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The continued rise in substance abuse with lawyers and judges gets to be a larger problem.

A 2016 Hazelden Betty Ford study reported that 20.6 percent of the lawyers and judges surveyed reported problematic alcohol use.  It also found that along with the 21 percent of licensed, employed attorneys that qualify as problem drinkers, 28 percent struggle with some level of depression and 19 percent demonstrate symptoms of anxiety. Maybe more troubling is that younger attorneys in the first 10 years of practice exhibit the highest incidence of these problems.

The New York Times just did an article on the story of one attorney’s secret loss struggle with substance abuse.  Peter Zimmerman was a high powered partner with the IP firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.  According to another partner Zimmerman had worked over 60 hours a week for over 20 years.  He constantly obsessed about competition, compensation and his clients.

Zimmerman’s substance abuse struggle ended when his ex-wife, who was still a friend of 30 years, found him lying dead on the bathroom floor.  Nearby were syringes, crushed pills, a spoon, a lighter, a bag of white powder and a tourniquet.  Zimmerman had died from a common intravenous drug user’s bacterial infection.  According to the article even with the addiction Zimmerman continued to work keeping notebooks of clients along with his drug injection times and dosages.

His last cell phone call was a client conference call.

To read more

Click Here for the Hazelden Betty Ford study

Click Here for the New York Times Article on Zimmerman

If you need help or know of someone with a substance abuse problem contact your health professional or your local or state bar.  Most local and/or state bars have substance abuse programs to help prevent such tragedies.

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