drug addictions?

  1. I just talked to a friend of mine who recently graduated and is now a practicing CRNA-she mentioned that the stats on CRNAs who become drug addicts is something like 1 out of 3??!!

    Just wanted to get some input/confirmation/thoughts from the CRNAs/SRNAs out there. It seems just a little on the high side to me and,in addition, scared the crap out of me-considering that I am about to start school this Fall.

    Hoping for words of encouragement
    Jamie
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   New CCU RN
    Find that highly doubtful...ask her where she got a stat like that...
  4. by   VaMedic
    I have read that statistic as well somewhere on the interent. But I do not remember what the ratio was. I talked about the inherent stress with the job and the easy access to narc's. Also talked about it was very easy to say you gave the patient x drug and really only give them less and pocket the rest. I can not rememeber where I saw it, but I will look around and post a link if I can. Also try google.com search.

    Rob
  5. by   VaMedic
    Forgot, just because it is written somewhere in the net, does not make it true. Studies can be swayed in many ways depending on the testers and whether they have subjective or objective motives (hidden agendas, aka allowing data to be negative to hurt the group or for political purpose). Most of the CRNAs I have met or shadowed seemed of high integrity and them doing this would really suprise me. We all know that this has the potential to occur as the access is there, but if I have been around one that was doing this, they hid it from many many people and very well.

    Rob
  6. by   meandragonbrett
    I've heard a stat similar but it was like 1 in 7 or 1 in 10.
  7. by   smiling_ru
    20% rate of addiction in the anesthesia profession (MDA&CRNA). Three times higher than in other medical fields. The reasons most often given for the higher rates are:
    1. High addictive potential of fentanyl/sufentanil
    2. More rapid identification of abuser because consequences more obvious
    3. Ease at which drugs can be diverted
    4. Accustomed to giving large doses of mood altering drugs with immediate effects.
    5. Anesthesia personnel look for addiction within the ranks so there is a higher level of awareness, resulting in a higher number of people in treatment.
    6. Lack of needle taboo
    7. Control oriented
    8. Curious about what the drug feels like.
  8. by   nilepoc
    The articles we read stated a rate of 1 in 10 for all anesthesia providers.

    Here are some loose notes based on the readings we reviewed, compiled from a chat board for our class.

    Explain why chemical dependency/substance abuse information is included in Nurse Anesthesia Education.

    "Chemical dependency, especially narcotic addiction, is an occupationall hazard for anesthesia providers. This is presumably because of the ready access to highly potent synthetic narcotics used in practice." (Berge)
    "Chemical dependancy threatens the career and possibly the lives of an impaired colleague and those under their care. Therefore, it is imperative that the telltale signs of addiction be recognized and treated, not ignored" (Berge)
    Through education about addiction, we will be able to recognize the symptoms of dependency so we can assist our fellow professionals, thereby protecting them and their patients as well as the profession itself. We also learn the pitfalls of addiction for ouselves.

    With an incedence rate greater than 1:10, it is a given that some time in your career you will be working in an environment where drug abuse is occuring. Education is the best prevention, and baring prevention, at least we will know what resources are availible in treatment, and prevention once we reach the workplace.


    What is meant by diversion legislation? Is it available to nurse anesthetists?

    Diversion legislation is a law that could be passed by each state which allows addicted nurses to seek treatment before any disciplinary actions are taken against them. ref. AANA web site.

    The physician recovery program worked on haveing state legislatures petition a diversion legislation, which allowed "treatment to be offered to addicted physicians without having a negative impact on their licenses, as long as they continued to meet certain requirements" AANA website. Thirty states have a similar programs for nurses called alternative programs. "These programs provide an alternative to licensure discipline as long as the nurse voluntarily complies with a monitoring contract."

    What does AIR stand for? What does this group do?

    Anesthetists in Recovery (AIR) is a group of anesthetists who are re-entering the profession and are recovering from chemical addiction. It is a national support organization with both educational and networking resources for peer assistance. AIR is entirely confidential. The current AANA contact for this program is Art Zwerling CRNA, MS, MSN, PA-C and can be emailed for further information at a.to.z@comcast.net

    "Anesthetist in Recovery" (AIR) is a national support group for CRNA's who are recovering from chemical dependency and are returning to the workplace. It educates on recovering from drug addiction and has a peer assistance program. More information can be found on the "AANA peer assistance website".

    What enabling behaviors on the part of coworkers contribute to difficulty in identifying chemical dependency in an impaired colleague?

    What enabling behaviors on the part of coworkers contribute to difficulty in identifying chemical dependency in an impaired colleague?

    Coworkers enable by:
    1 - Accepting chemically dependent person's responsibilities and duties
    2 - Repressing one's own feelings, reacting defensively
    3 - Feeling superior, self-righteous about chemically dependent colleague
    4 - Avoiding, withdrawing from situation
    5 - Believing one is able to fix chemically dependent behavior
    6 - Moralizing, judging, blaming chemically dependent person for own bad feelings
    7 - Denying condition, minimizing severity of problem
    8 - Protecting the chemically dependent person from consequences of using by lying, covering up, protecting chemically dependent colleague's image
    9 - Believing the chemically dependent person can control use and behavior
    10 - Accepting the chemically dependent person's rationalizations, excuses, promises
    11 - Reasoning with, enduring behavior of chemically dependent co-worker
    12 - Confronting with generalities, opinions, judgments
    13 - Expressing vague, general demands for change that provoke denial
    14 - Failing to follow through on ultimatums
    Source: Quinlan article

    Sometimes coworkers decide to suppress their suspicion on a coworker who may be abusing narcotics. Or, perhaps they decide to ignore or try to convince themselves that their imagining someone has a drug problem.

    What role and responsibilities does the anesthesia department have to the impaired provider?

    ---Anesthesia departments must maintain a safe, enviroment for patients and employees free from misuse of drugs and ETOH. The department must provide guidelines for reduction, confrontation, management, and subs. abuse.
    ---The dept "should" provide education, drug testing, insurance provisions, narcotic accountability, quality assurance , confrotation, and reentry.
    ----From: aana's website

    The Departement has the responsibility to help the impaired provider to seek treatment. Federal law mandates a Drug and Alcohol policy for any group that trains people that recieves federal funds. In Quilin's article page 358 one of the requirements of this policiy is that the hospital have a method for referring people into treament.

    The department also has a responsiblity to help the individual with re-entry. Quilan recommends a contract with the provider that states expectations. Also screening and further counseling a support for the impaired provider.

    Overall statistics have shown a relapse rate of 14-70% (Berge), so a department's responsiblity to an impaired provider is to stop them from practicing while impaired, help them find treatment, and work with them during re-entry while remaining vigalent for relapse.
  9. by   Jedav
    WOW! Thanks for all of the responses....Nilepoc-great,thorough info!

    Jamie
  10. by   jskibis
    For those of you who are following this thread:
    1. Have any of you ever worked with an untreated addict? (I have)
    2. Information I have read also mentions a greater risk of drug use in people whose parents were substance (including alcohol) abusers
  11. by   nilepoc
    6 people in five years of nursing, and my preceptor died of a drug error he inflicted on himself.

    Instead of fentanyl, he accidentally got a paralytic. No one suspected he was using until he died.

    Drug use is a huge problem. No doubt about it.

    Craig
  12. by   Qwiigley
    Wow, That is horrible. It seems like we of all people should know better. I didn't think I ever knew anyone who abused/used fentanyl, but then our managers told us of one of our travelers who got someone else's pyxis code and was using fentanyl. Amazingly enough, I knew this person and rather liked her. Makes me so sad, as she was a good nurse.
    The point is, I worked with her and had no clue.

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