i pay $1500 a year to my pharmacy (that's on top of what insurance pays) for medications to manage my genetic disorder: depression. without those medications i would be dead. with them, i'm functional and stable, but most of the time i'm also irritable, tense, closed. that's why i also pay about $500 a year on the black market for the one medication my insurance won't cover and my doctor can't prescribe: marijuana. my husband likes me better when i smoke pot daily. my colleagues like me better. my kids like me better. i like me better. in the horrific six months when my old medications stopped working marijuana kept me alive until the new meds started to work. i really wish i were kidding, but i'm not: i would have killed myself without marijuana.
because i hate hypocrisy, i quit smoking pot before i took the n-clex and abstained from it for a year. it was not a good year. because i knew i would be a happier, more productive person, citizen, and nurse, i started smoking pot again. i have never gone to work high, and i never will, just as i would never go to work if i were drunk, hungover, running a fever, or taking any medication that caused drowsiness. just like pilots have a 12-hour "bottle to throttle" rule, i have a 12-hour "toke to time-clock" rule.
i am respected in my community for my work and for my parenting. i don't cheat on my taxes, i don't steal, and i would never park in a handicapped space. if i want to, i can legally buy and consume cases of liquor and cartons of cigarettes, substances we nurses know causes disease. but in order to purchase a drug that i need for my mental health, i lie and i break the law, and i hate it.
sometimes i wonder how many nurses are in the same position. sometimes i wonder what would happen if nurses, the most respected professionals in our society, stood up together and said we want marijuana legalized now.
Jan 10, '12
You are very brave posting this becase nursing and drug use incidence is very high yet not talked about. The most common form of addiction in nursing is pain pills but I know marajuana is also high up there. I strongly caution you about the public knowledge of your use and where you buy because everytime you use and or buy you are putting your career in jeopardy. This I know from experience. I was without a nursing licence for 3 YEARS because of a pain med addiction. I am lucky to have it back and have a job. So I wish you luck because I too suffer from depression but choose to use prescribed mess to manage my disease.
Jan 10, '12
I am fully aware of the risk to my license. I am also fully aware that being a closeted pot smoker is not so different than being a closeted homosexual was fifty years ago. The laws that keep me from legally using pot are wrong and should be changed.
I may be brave enough to post here, but I'm not brave enough to go public. I've used this anonymous forum because as long as I have children to support, I can't risk losing my job. However, I wonder if the psychic/spiritual cost of lying is just too high. That is why I wonder what would happen if nurses leveraged the respect the public gives our profession and chose to come out of the closet en masse.