Drug Abuse Among Us?? - page 11

Am I that nieve?? A nurse on my unit was arrested for"drug diversion" Is this rampant among us?? I know we have all taken the occasional tylenol from work, but controlled substances ??... Read More

  1. by   Thunderwolf
    SteveO123, you need to read "all" of what I posted on the "impaired nurse" I spoke of. No one will ever link a nurse to drug abuse when appropriately medicating patients for pain or discussing with the doc about pain management. However, when a nurse presents with a cluster of symptoms/behaviors "surrounding use of opiates" which sets him/her apart from his/her colleagues, the question of misuse does come to mind for many...which in this case turned out to be true.
  2. by   teeituptom
    Quote from shawng007
    yes, most addicts will not admit right away that they have a problem, or some may cry about it when confronted, these are both normal defense mechanisims of denial. either way, they should still be given the opportunity to come clean and get the help they need. most addicts dont seek help until it is considered too late. i was homeless by the time i admitted i needed help. understanding of the addiction process is imperative today. many of the nurses who become addicts may in fact be their first time, and so when they are caught it puts up all of the defense mechanisms at once, and that leads to shame and guilt which are almost as intolerable as getting caught. cuffing and dragging someone out may do more to ruin their reputation in the long run than taking them into a private office, sitting down preferably with a good addictions counselor, and having a nice long, possibly emotional and heartfelt chat with them. by doing this, you remove part of the stigma, if this were to happen to me and my patients or family members saw me being taken out that way, i would never live it down. yet if the person is given every opportunity to get help behind closed doors, then follows through, the results will be far better. then, if they get help and stay clean they can still function, if then they mess up again, perhaps the cuffs would do the job. to ruin a nurses career the first time around is cruel, because we are all capable of being addicts, we may be one and not even know it. it can happen in a short time or over a long period. someone who goes home and has one or two drinks every day may not be an addict, but the potential is definitely there, and it doesnt always take much to break the bubble.

    In my opinion, if you wait untill you get caught or busted and then say you have a problem, then its to late to get any sympathy. Disease process or not, once you get busted my sympathies are not there for that individual.


    I will have sympathy for someone who voluntarily realizes they have a problem and seeks help for it.

    But nurses who steal drugs at work and unfortunately it is so easy to accomplish<Youcan call it diversion if you want to, but it is still theft>
    These nurses have violated a basic and ultimate trust with their profession their peers and their patients, and there should never be a second chance.

    Bush sr gave Saddam a second chance and look where we are now.
  3. by   shawng007
    Quote from teeituptom
    In my opinion, if you wait untill you get caught or busted and then say you have a problem, then its to late to get any sympathy. Disease process or not, once you get busted my sympathies are not there for that individual.


    I will have sympathy for someone who voluntarily realizes they have a problem and seeks help for it.

    But nurses who steal drugs at work and unfortunately it is so easy to accomplish<Youcan call it diversion if you want to, but it is still theft>
    These nurses have violated a basic and ultimate trust with their profession their peers and their patients, and there should never be a second chance.

    Bush sr gave Saddam a second chance and look where we are now.
    perhaps you are too naive or lack basic understanding of the process. many people will not realize they have a problem until they are confronted or busted. this is part of the addiction process. and i feel sorry that you are not knowledgable of addictions because there are so many nurses out there who lack even a basic understanding of this very important problem. many of the patients i treat on med surg are addicts in one form or another, so it is necessary to know what the addiction process is about. this has nothing to do about second chances, this has nothing to do with Bush, or Saddam or international politics, this has to do with a problem that faces perhaps one in five or ten people. let me rephrase MANY PEOPLE WITH ADDICTIONS DO NOT ADMIT THEY HAVE A PROBLEM UNTIL THEY ARE CAUGHT OR CONFRONTED. this is due to a psychological defense mechanism called DENIAL. it is very real and very powerful.
  4. by   Energizer Bunny
    WE just learned this week that nurses have the same percentage of drug and alcohol abusers as the general population: 10-15% and that at least 67% of disciplinary issues are related to substance abuse.
  5. by   teeituptom
    Quote from shawng007
    perhaps you are too naive or lack basic understanding of the process. many people will not realize they have a problem until they are confronted or busted. this is part of the addiction process. and i feel sorry that you are not knowledgable of addictions because there are so many nurses out there who lack even a basic understanding of this very important problem. many of the patients i treat on med surg are addicts in one form or another, so it is necessary to know what the addiction process is about. this has nothing to do about second chances, this has nothing to do with Bush, or Saddam or international politics, this has to do with a problem that faces perhaps one in five or ten people. let me rephrase MANY PEOPLE WITH ADDICTIONS DO NOT ADMIT THEY HAVE A PROBLEM UNTIL THEY ARE CAUGHT OR CONFRONTED. this is due to a psychological defense mechanism called DENIAL. it is very real and very powerful.

    That is so true and I know that

    But dont cry to me after youve been caught pilfering drugs or ingesting while at work, for that I will never have any sympathy for that individual.
  6. by   mattsmom81
    We as nurses do understand addiction is a disease..but nurses who have never been caught in the web addicts can weave may not understand the feelings of those who have dealt with nurse addicts in the workplace.

    I understand because I've had nurses try to scapegoat their pilfered drugs on ME and that REALLY hurts. We need to trust our coworkers more and more today and this kind of stuff shakes us up, as the addiction is the motivator in these nurses and that is a scary thought.

    I understand nurses are people and subject to the same failures/pitfalls as everyone else but its hard to get my mind around 'addict' and 'practicing nurse' in the same context.
  7. by   southern_rn_brat
    I have been very open about myself on these boards over the past months. When I first told my story on the boards, my feelers REAAAAAALLLY got hurt by some of the negative comments. I guess I have really grown in the past few months because today, I respect those comments, even yours Tom (:chuckle ).

    I am a drug addict and an alcoholic. I have been my whole life and I started using at 14, I am now 37. I have diverted from my job. Actually, that word is a cop out to me...I STOLE FREAKING DRUGS FROM MY PATIENTS AT WORK. I have to say it that way so I don't forget what I did and who I am. I am not ashamed of what I did anymore because the past is the past. If I continue to dwell on it, nothing in my life will change. If nothing changes...NOTHING changes!!!

    I feel very grateful that I was NOT led out of a job in handcuffs. The sad thing is, it would have made no difference if I had been. Until *I* was ready, until *I* was willing to surrender my life to my God, nothing...not even an intervention by the police would have helped. What it would have helped was the patients...because I wouldn't have been allowed access to them anymore. Maybe had I been forced to face more negative consequences of my actions I would have become willing earlier. Who knows? I don't.

    What I do know is that the Lord was looking out for me and kept me alive until the day that I "gave it up". If He intended for me to lose my license, then I would have lost it. For some reason, He didn't though. He wanted me to keep my license. I believe He wants me to be a testimony for the many nurses like me out there so now I won't be silent ever again. Maybe by telling what happened to me will help someone. I hope so. It sure helps me to say it.

    I came to these boards looking for advice when I found out I was being investigated by the state for diverting and being impaired at work. I was very lucky that I had, just one month prior, told my new job that I was an addict. I was clean at that time and really wanted to stay that way but I didn't know how. The Lord knew my heart. He knew I was ready to change. The way that I came to tell my new job about myself was not of my own doing. They had asked me to drug test for cause....I was just lucky it was the one time in my life I had NOT diverted. While sitting on that toilet, trying to pee...the voice of the Lord was so strong in my head that I could not NOT tell this time. All I was hearing was..."TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER" over and over and over and over and over. I realized at that moment...and not until then, that I HAD to give my life up to God, trust Him and let him be in control. So I told her my horrible horrible shameful secret. She said" do you have something to tell me wendy?". How did she know what I was thinking?????????, is what I thought. So I took a deep breath, busted out in tears and told her. The Lord has been driving this car ever since!

    For 37 years I tried my hand at controlling my own life and look where it got me. Sitting in a bathroom floor telling someone I didn't know that I was a drug addict!

    I started working with employee health and EAP that day. As I have said, I am very lucky. I work for a company that is very recovery oriented and very Christian (thank you Nuns). I started weekly drug tests and weekly counseling with EAP. As I have said over and over, I believe everything in my life has happened on God's timetable, not mine. I didn't go into treatment right away. They suggested outpatient treatment for me but since I was voluntarily working with them, I didn't have to go if I didn't want to. All i HAD to do was stay clean. so I kept putting it off, although I really wanted to go...being the procrastinator that I am...I put it off. Then I got the letter from the state. I had to go in front of a screening board. As bad as that was, I could not imagine having to go in front of the actual board. They "ripped me a new one" as I deserved. They agreed with EAP and told me to go to treatment and sign up with TPAP.

    So I entered treatment allready 5 months clean. I feel so blessed!! Although I was "ready" back in May, I don't think I would have gotten what I needed in treatment at that time.

    I went into treatment beaten but hopeful. They told me "you have done a pretty bad job of making your own decisions....let us make them for you now until you learn differently". So I did. I took every single "suggestion" they gave me, every single assignment they gave me and I ran with it!!! I realize now that I had spent most of my waking hours working on my disease....the only way to get clean and sober was devote the same amount of time working on my recovery!!!

    I drove my counselor crazy, lol. I would hear about an assignment someone else had and would tell her "hey that's me! I think I need that assignment too!!!" For some reason, I got these assignments about Perfectionism and Control . lol

    But I listened and I worked...HARD! I am continuing my work with an individual therapist that specializes in addictions. I have a wonderful sponsor. I sign my contract with TPAP this coming Wednesday and I am looking forward to that as well. I am afraid NOT to have someone monitoring me now. I welcome the "intrusion" into my life. My life has been so full of secrets that it is a beautiful thing not to have any any more.

    This coming week I am having a meeting with the nurses I work with to tell them I have been in treatment and tell them I have signed a contract with TPAP and can no longer pass narcotics.

    Telling my story here again is like practice for that meeting for me. I know I will get alot of support from the people I work with, but I know there will also be some negative responses. But, that's ok too. What I have done is deplorable, dispicable, immoral and just plain wrong. I can tell people over and over that I am clean now...the only thing that will prove it is my actions. My words don't mean much anymore. And I am ok with that too.

    I am grateful for my thousands of "second chances". I am also grateful for the words of support AND the negative as well. If I didn't hear the negative, I might forget what I am so grateful for today.

    And don't be so hard on Tom. He knows alot about addiction. I, for one, respect your opinions, Tom. I am still really glad I don't work for you, lol...but I respect you.
  8. by   MarySunshine
    Thanks for sharing and best wishes to you, Wendy.
  9. by   southern_rn_brat
    Quote from MarySunshine
    Thanks for sharing and best wishes to you, Wendy.
    Thank you so much mary
  10. by   shawng007
    Quote from southern_rn_brat
    I have been very open about myself on these boards over the past months. When I first told my story on the boards, my feelers REAAAAAALLLY got hurt by some of the negative comments. I guess I have really grown in the past few months because today, I respect those comments, even yours Tom (:chuckle ).

    I am a drug addict and an alcoholic. I have been my whole life and I started using at 14, I am now 37. I have diverted from my job. Actually, that word is a cop out to me...I STOLE FREAKING DRUGS FROM MY PATIENTS AT WORK. I have to say it that way so I don't forget what I did and who I am. I am not ashamed of what I did anymore because the past is the past. If I continue to dwell on it, nothing in my life will change. If nothing changes...NOTHING changes!!!

    I feel very grateful that I was NOT led out of a job in handcuffs. The sad thing is, it would have made no difference if I had been. Until *I* was ready, until *I* was willing to surrender my life to my God, nothing...not even an intervention by the police would have helped. What it would have helped was the patients...because I wouldn't have been allowed access to them anymore. Maybe had I been forced to face more negative consequences of my actions I would have become willing earlier. Who knows? I don't.

    What I do know is that the Lord was looking out for me and kept me alive until the day that I "gave it up". If He intended for me to lose my license, then I would have lost it. For some reason, He didn't though. He wanted me to keep my license. I believe He wants me to be a testimony for the many nurses like me out there so now I won't be silent ever again. Maybe by telling what happened to me will help someone. I hope so. It sure helps me to say it.

    I came to these boards looking for advice when I found out I was being investigated by the state for diverting and being impaired at work. I was very lucky that I had, just one month prior, told my new job that I was an addict. I was clean at that time and really wanted to stay that way but I didn't know how. The Lord knew my heart. He knew I was ready to change. The way that I came to tell my new job about myself was not of my own doing. They had asked me to drug test for cause....I was just lucky it was the one time in my life I had NOT diverted. While sitting on that toilet, trying to pee...the voice of the Lord was so strong in my head that I could not NOT tell this time. All I was hearing was..."TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER" over and over and over and over and over. I realized at that moment...and not until then, that I HAD to give my life up to God, trust Him and let him be in control. So I told her my horrible horrible shameful secret. She said" do you have something to tell me wendy?". How did she know what I was thinking?????????, is what I thought. So I took a deep breath, busted out in tears and told her. The Lord has been driving this car ever since!

    For 37 years I tried my hand at controlling my own life and look where it got me. Sitting in a bathroom floor telling someone I didn't know that I was a drug addict!

    I started working with employee health and EAP that day. As I have said, I am very lucky. I work for a company that is very recovery oriented and very Christian (thank you Nuns). I started weekly drug tests and weekly counseling with EAP. As I have said over and over, I believe everything in my life has happened on God's timetable, not mine. I didn't go into treatment right away. They suggested outpatient treatment for me but since I was voluntarily working with them, I didn't have to go if I didn't want to. All i HAD to do was stay clean. so I kept putting it off, although I really wanted to go...being the procrastinator that I am...I put it off. Then I got the letter from the state. I had to go in front of a screening board. As bad as that was, I could not imagine having to go in front of the actual board. They "ripped me a new one" as I deserved. They agreed with EAP and told me to go to treatment and sign up with TPAP.

    So I entered treatment allready 5 months clean. I feel so blessed!! Although I was "ready" back in May, I don't think I would have gotten what I needed in treatment at that time.

    I went into treatment beaten but hopeful. They told me "you have done a pretty bad job of making your own decisions....let us make them for you now until you learn differently". So I did. I took every single "suggestion" they gave me, every single assignment they gave me and I ran with it!!! I realize now that I had spent most of my waking hours working on my disease....the only way to get clean and sober was devote the same amount of time working on my recovery!!!

    I drove my counselor crazy, lol. I would hear about an assignment someone else had and would tell her "hey that's me! I think I need that assignment too!!!" For some reason, I got these assignments about Perfectionism and Control . lol

    But I listened and I worked...HARD! I am continuing my work with an individual therapist that specializes in addictions. I have a wonderful sponsor. I sign my contract with TPAP this coming Wednesday and I am looking forward to that as well. I am afraid NOT to have someone monitoring me now. I welcome the "intrusion" into my life. My life has been so full of secrets that it is a beautiful thing not to have any any more.

    This coming week I am having a meeting with the nurses I work with to tell them I have been in treatment and tell them I have signed a contract with TPAP and can no longer pass narcotics.

    Telling my story here again is like practice for that meeting for me. I know I will get alot of support from the people I work with, but I know there will also be some negative responses. But, that's ok too. What I have done is deplorable, dispicable, immoral and just plain wrong. I can tell people over and over that I am clean now...the only thing that will prove it is my actions. My words don't mean much anymore. And I am ok with that too.

    I am grateful for my thousands of "second chances". I am also grateful for the words of support AND the negative as well. If I didn't hear the negative, I might forget what I am so grateful for today.

    And don't be so hard on Tom. He knows alot about addiction. I, for one, respect your opinions, Tom. I am still really glad I don't work for you, lol...but I respect you.
    very good. i am proud of you. when i started working for the hospital i work for, i was not a nurse, i was interviewing as a sitter to sit with patients who need observation. i was open with my interviewer, the nursing supervisor, and told her i am an alcoholic and, at the time, living in a halfway house for addictions. she hired me, i went to school and they all supported me. often i see patients having problems, and i tell them my story, they are all happy to hear it and i have had no negative impact from revealling this to patients. i tell them i have been sober for over three years and that i found my calling in nursing, helping others. i hide my alcoholism from no one, and am quite open about it. keep up the work. you are in my prayers.
  11. by   Midwest4me
    Hi Wendy--bless you for sharing what God has done for you--what a wonderful testimony of what GREAT things He can do in our lives.

    About a year and a half ago my friend, an RN, was working at the same LTC facility as I---we relieved each other of shifts--during a narcotic count one morning the count was ok--or so it seemed until after she left--then I noticed the backs of some narc cards punched out, but the drugs(Darvocet I think) were still in the blisters with tape over the back of the cards. Also noticed that what looked like a Darvocet was in the top drawer of the med cart--I called another RN down from another floor to go over the whole count with me--I wrote up the incident(there were indeed missing meds). When my friend came in again that night we counted--I told her of what I'd found that morning.
    Months later I was working at another clinic and she applied to work there too. She called me last Dec. to talk awhile, inquire about the company and said "I guess you know I'm in the nurse monitoring program"---I actually did NOT know that--she said she'd hurt her back in an accident and had been fighting addiction to pain killers. WOW--I was just stunned---call me naive--I guess I just didn't want to give in to the suspicions of her having a drug addiction problem.
    Well, my friend committed suicide this last April. Apparently the BON suspended then revoked her nursing license and she had no idea what else, besides nursing, she could possibly do with her life. What an enormous blow her death was to me. I still find it unbelievable--such a very capable, caring, brilliant nurse.
    I was so thrilled to learn that you were open to God's word and accepted his help with your addictions, Wendy. It made me think, sadly, of my friend who'd succumbed to Satan's dealings and how I had somehow not seen the situation--it certainly has opened my eyes more.
  12. by   southern_rn_brat
    OMG drifter, I realized after reading your story that your friend lost her fight with her addiction at the same time I got the strength to fight mine.

    Thank you for sharing with me. I will keep it in my heart.
  13. by   stbernardclub
    I HAVE A NO TOLORANCE ATTITUTE TO NURSES WHO TAKE MEDICATIONS FROM PATIENTS, PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Quote from luanne101
    Am I that nieve?? A nurse on my unit was arrested for"drug diversion" Is this rampant among us?? I know we have all taken the occasional tylenol from work, but controlled substances ??

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Drug Abuse Among Us??