Should American Bar Association Mandate Drug Classes for Members?

by: Mike Miller

In the past I have blogged about a wide range of organizations, like the national Football League, and the American military, that might want to mandate drug classes and alcohol classes for their members. Should be add the American Bar Association (ABA) to that group? The State Bar of Nevada thinks so.

Based on evidence that shows higher-than-average alcohol and drug abuse among lawyers, the State Bar of Nevada is seeking greater awareness among its ranks. As reported in

Here is a crazy statistic: in the past two years, almost 23 percent of those applying to practice law in Nevada disclosed a history of substance abuse.

And almost 33 percent of the disciplinary cases against lawyers involve underlying abuse, addiction or mental health problems.

The American Bar Association in 1996 estimated that 15 to 20 percent of the lawyers suffer from alcohol dependence or substance abuse compared with 10 percent in the general population.

I applaud the bar in requesting attorneys to take one hour of education each year in substance abuse, addictive disorders and or mental health issues that impair professional competence. What do you think? Should attorneys spend an hour or two per year taking alcohol classes or drug classes? I would recommend both an 8-hour alcohol class and an 8-hour drug class.