"Even if you have as one of your goals to hire problem physicians and rehabilitate them," Oshel said, "at some point enough is enough."

The Maryland physicians board rarely metes out serious punishment. Last fiscal year, it imposed 118 sanctions such as fines, probation orders, reprimands, suspensions and revocations, board Deputy Director John Papavasiliou said. Maryland has 27,664 licensed physicians, about 17,000 of whom treat patients, he said.

Among the eight sanctioned BBH doctors, five have struggled with drug or alcohol abuse, according to physicians board records. In the substance abuse treatment field, it is not uncommon to find employees who are recovering addicts. BBH specializes in treating those with co-occurring drug addition and mental illness.

Two other doctors were disciplined for having inappropriate relationships with patients.

Hathaway of BBH said in an earlier e-mail that his center "works closely" with a rehabilitation program in Maryland for troubled doctors but declined to comment on specific doctors.

One of those with a history of drug problems is Dr. Nicholas G. Scotto, the center's chief physician and Hathaway's brother-in-law. According to the Board of Physicians, Scotto's last recorded substance abuse predates his hiring at BBH in 2002.

The board found that another physician, Dr. Bannister L. Raines Jr., used alcohol while on duty at BBH.

One night in November 2004, Raines drank three glasses of bourbon, each containing four to six ounces, and then drove his car over the speed limit "in an erratic manner," according to a 2005 board order revoking his medical license. Raines, hired by BBH in 2003, was on call, the order said, and "he in fact received a call and made medical decisions for a patient during this drinking episode."

The board gave no details about those medical decisions.

Raines had four drunken-driving arrests dating to 1981, the board noted, and his blood-alcohol content that November night was found to be 0.10, over the legal limit. He was arrested by Baltimore County police, who charged him with driving under the influence. A phone number listed for Raines was not in service. He is no longer employed by BBH.

Dr. Benigno P. Lazaro Jr. was hired by BBH in March 2009, less than two months after the Maryland board reinstated his license. It had been revoked in 2005 after he was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with two patients in Ohio.

In November last year, according to the board, Lazaro "made sexual advances" toward a 22-year-old relapsed heroin addict in an exam room at BBH. She reported that he lifted her shirt and kissed her breast. "And then I pushed my shirt down," she told board investigators. "I got up, and he grabbed me and kissed me on the mouth twice, and I walked out."

BBH promptly suspended Lazaro, who later admitted some of the accusations to physicians board staff. The board revoked his license last month, and he no longer works at BBH.

In an interview, Lazaro declined to discuss the incident. But he said Scotto "gave me a chance" by hiring him, adding, "I have discussed it personally with him and I've apologized."

This year, BBH hired Dr. Steven Corvilla after the board put him on probation for substance abuse. The board acted in January, after Corvilla admitted writing himself prescriptions under a false name for medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Corvilla, a current BBH staff physician, told the board he had been prescribed the medication but developed a tolerance. "From time to time," he said, "I self-medicated myself under a pseudonym." A suspicious pharmacist reported him to the board in 2006. Corvilla did not return messages left at BBH.

The other three current or former BBH doctors with sanctions are Dr. Arthur Charles Marsh, Dr. Joseph C. Boschulte and Sheldon. Only Sheldon still works there, on a contract basis.

Boschulte did not return messages left at the Eastern Shore treatment facility where he works. Marsh did not return messages left with a stepson in Salisbury and his lawyers on a case unrelated to BBH.

Boschulte, a psychiatrist who worked at BBH from 1999 to 2002, had his medical license suspended for six months in 2002, after the board found that during the mid-1990s he had a sexual relationship with a patient and failed to meet standards of care in prescribing her medication.

Today, the board's website lists Boschulte's license as "active."