Use of psychoactive substances by health professionals: a cross-sectional study

Ítalo Arão Pereira Ribeiro1, Márcia Astrês Fernandes1

1Federal University of Piauí


Aim: to evaluate health professionals who consume psychoactive substances. Method: this is an analytical-observational, cross-sectional study. The representative sample will be composed of 320 participants, drawn from a population of 1,938 health professionals from the hospital service and from different categories. The data will be collected through the filling of questionnaires regarding the sociodemographic, occupational and health conditions; and the ASSIST and AUDIT instruments. Pearson or Spearman correlation tests will be used. The means between groups will be compared through ANOVA 1 Factor, if the sample is parametric, or Kruskall-Wallis, if the sample is non-parametric. The level of significance will be 5% (p<0,05). Expected results: the research will contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between psychoactive substance use by health professionals and work in the hospital service.

Descriptors: Health Personnel; Occupational Health; Psychotropic Drugs; Substance-Related Disorders; Nursing.


Work is considered one of the forms of personal and social development of the human being. However, collections and new production models have increasingly required more and more from workers. Thus, these demands in the workplace, among other factors, end up becoming a true generator of psychological suffering, depersonalizing these professionals as to their knowledge, which has often induced them to the consumption of Psychoactive Substances (PASs)(1).

The environment and work-related circumstances, especially those with a marked stress load, such as health professionals, are some of the factors of employees' vulnerability to the use of PASs. In addition, exhaustive days of work, sleep deprivation, inadequate remunerations and complexity in establishing relationships with patients place these professionals in routines of poor quality of life, with significant risks to the mental balance(2).

Thus, studies that include the use of licit and illicit drugs by health professionals, as well as the relationship between working conditions and drug use are extremely important for the health of workers(3). It is also worth mentioning that studies on the subject in Brazil are scarce, and in the state of Piauí are unknown.



  • Evaluate health professionals who consume psychoactive substances.


  • To characterize the sociodemographic, occupational and self-reported health conditions of health professionals;

  • To verify the consumption of PASs among the health professionals of the hospital service and the related factors;

  • Identify the period, frequency of use, dosage, consumption environment, and route of administration of the PASs;

  • To raise the main risks and consequences of the use of PASs for health, and work and social life of professionals;

  • To correlate the sociodemographic, occupational and self-reported health conditions of the professionals with the aspects and factors related to the consumption of PASs;


This is an analytical-observational and cross-sectional study, with a representative sample of 320 health professionals from the hospital service, in a large public hospital in the state of Piauí.

In order to select the participants, the following criteria will be established: the effective professionals, who have a workload equal to or greater than 24 hours per week and whose length of service is equal to or greater than one year, suitable for adaptation in the workplace, as well as for greater familiarity and recognition of the places and factors that can lead to the access of the PASs; professionals who are distant from their work will be excluded.

The data collected will be typed into double-entry spreadsheets in the Microsoft Excel program to detect possible typos. After that and for the statistical analysis, the application Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS, version 20.0) will be applied and descriptive and inferential statistics will be applied.

For the sociodemographic variables, occupational conditions and self-reported conditions, the statistical analysis will be constructed by measures of position (mean) and variability (standard deviation) for the quantitative variables and for the absolute (n) and relative (%) frequencies for the categorical variables.

Regarding the evaluation of the consumption of PASs, two instruments will still be used, namely: Alcohol Involvement Triage Test, Cigarette and other Substances (ASSIST) and the Alcohol-Related Problems Identification Test (AUDIT). The internal consistency will be tested, using Cronbach's Alpha measure ().

The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test will be performed to analyze and verify the normality of the sample. To evaluate the association between the qualitative variables, the Pearson's Chi-square test (X2) will be used. Then, one of the correlation tests will be used for the quantitative variables: Pearson, if the variables are parametric (normal) or Spearman, if they are non-parametric (non-normal).

After that, the means between the groups (professional categories) will be compared using ANOVA (analysis of variance) 1 Factor if the sample is parametric or Kruskall-Wallis, if the sample is non-parametric. All analyzes will be performed at the significance level of 5% (p<0,05).

It is hoped that the present research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between psychoactive substances consumption by health workers and work in the hospital environment, revealing the vulnerability, motives and factors that influence professionals to the use of these substances.

The project was approved by the Committee of Ethics in Research (CEP) with human beings of the Federal University of Piauí (UFPI).


  1. Felix Junior IJ, Schlindwein, VLDC, Calheiros PRV. A relação entre o uso de drogas e o trabalho: uma revisão de literatura PSI. Estud. pesqui. psicol. [Internet] 2016. [cited 2018 Out 05];16(1):104-122. Available from: http://pepsic.bvsalud.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1808-42812016000100007&lng=pt&nrm=iso
  2. Scholze AR, Martins JT. A Influência do Ambiente Ocupacional para o uso de Substâncias Psicoativas entre Enfermeiros. Rev. enferm. UFPE online. [Internet] 2016. [cited 2018 Out 05]; 10 (supl.1): 375-8. Available from: https://periodicos.ufpe.br/revistas/revistaenfermagem/article/viewFile/10965/12292
  3. Rocha PR, David HMSL. Padrão de consumo de álcool e outras drogas entre profissionais de saúde: retrato de alunos de cursos lato sensu de uma instituição pública. SMAD, Rev. Eletrônica Saúde Mental, Álcool, Drogas [Internet] 2015. [cietd 2018 Out 05]; 11 (1): 41-8. Available from: http://pepsic.bvsalud.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1806-69762015000100007&lng=pt&nrm=iso

All authors participated in the phases of this publication in one or more of the following steps, in according to the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE, 2013): (a) substantial involvement in the planning or preparation of the manuscript or in the collection, analysis or interpretation of data; (b) preparation of the manuscript or conducting critical revision of intellectual content; (c) approval of the version submitted of this manuscript. All authors declare for the appropriate purposes that the responsibilities related to all aspects of the manuscript submitted to OBJN are yours. They ensure that issues related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the article were properly investigated and resolved. Therefore, they exempt the OBJN of any participation whatsoever in any imbroglios concerning the content under consideration. All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest of financial or personal nature concerning this manuscript which may influence the writing and/or interpretation of the findings. This statement has been digitally signed by all authors as recommended by the ICMJE, whose model is available in http://www.objnursing.uff.br/normas/DUDE_eng_13-06-2013.pdf

Received: 11/01/2018 Revised: 11/05/2018 Approved: 11/06/2018


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