Drug Abuse Among Us?? - page 12
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
Nov 28, '04I must have led a very sheltered career. I have always worked, except for 3 three month maternity leaves, and I am now in my thirty eighth year of nursing. I have ABSOLUTELY NEVER worked in a situation where a nurse was found stealing drugs. I would also like to say that I have worked in 4 Canadian provinces and two States, so it's not like I haven't been around. I am astounded by the statistics I read about nurse drug abuse.
Nov 29, '04[QUOTE=Teshiee]Before I became a nurse I use to work as a unit secretary L&D floor. I always admired one of the nurses that worked there. She was very knowledgeable, caring to her patients, and helpful to anyone who needed help. You would never thought she was abusing demerol. I was heartbroken I wanted to be like her someday.
[font=Arial Narrow]I am a older Nursing student, so my working experience is in another field, but I have worked with numerous drug/alcohol abusers throughout the years. I once worked in a hospital clerical position and also saw abuse.
[font=Arial Narrow]A recent experience (2 years ago) occured with one of my co-workers in a 4-person office of a large corporation. It was very obvious to me that she was abusing drugs and I tried to alert my superiors and the co-worker herself. They all were in denial for various reasons. It got to the point that they thought I and the co-worker had personal conflicts, or that I was jealous of her. (She was an outstanding worker.) Well, finally everything came crashing down. Eventually she was fired. Management and other co-workers "just couldn't believe she was addicted", and when she crashed, they did nothing to help her, just got rid of her.
[font=Arial Narrow]I think maybe now, I would know how to better handle this situation and perhaps help someone before it is too late.
Nov 29, '04Quote from stbernardclubyes, taking meds intended for patients is unethical, immoral, and just wrong. but to the addict, this is part of the disease, often these same people when they were not addicts, or before it was a problem were very ethical and moral people who would never stoop to such a level, but this is a disease which is paradoxical in that people with it do things they normally would never do. we must understand fully that addiction is a DISEASE. the addict may not consiously be aware or care that they are doing wrong because the disease is stronger than their morals and will. this disease makes us do that which we would not normally do. then we lie, cheat, steal, or make excuses to cover up(denial). this is real life, if you are a nurse, then you should understand that this is a disease, just like your patients, and that the behaviors are not necessarily intentional. yes we must be accountable for our actions, but we are not necessarily responsible for them( in the sense that the disease has this effect on people.) yes, we must pay the consequences for our actions, but we should be given every possible opportunity to seek help before being thrown to the wolves. yes, many times an addict has to hit bottom before seeking help, or accepting help. and often, in my case, it takes a person who is very passionate, compassionate, caring and understanding to make us realize what we need. every addict has their own 'bottom', for some means losing everything, for others may just be the threat of losing everything, and the bottom for one is no different in effect than the bottom for another. they are both just as devastating. my point is that before serious action is taken a nurse should be given all possible means of help. a person doesnt normally lose their drivers license for one small mishap, so a nurse should not lose their license for one mishap, without first being given the opportunity to come clean and stay that way. i came into nursing after i got sober, so i know what it is like, and nurses who are addicted are no different than the rest of the population, from the celebrity to the hobo, the doctor, lawyer, priest, school teacher etc. look at the individual rather than the action.I HAVE A NO TOLORANCE ATTITUTE TO NURSES WHO TAKE MEDICATIONS FROM PATIENTS, PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nov 29, '04[quote=duckie]the attitude i have gotten from many posts here that if anyone routinely takes a narcotic pain relief med, they should not be working. i am speaking for myself and on my own views here.
amen amen amen !!!!!
not every nurse using pain medications is an addict, just like every person who drinks beer is an etoh abusor.
i too use narcotic pain medication for pain relief, i've had three leg surgeries, now only knee replacements will help,im too young for them. i also have 4 herniated disks in my neck.
i'm 37 yrs old. should i be put out to pasture because i rely on pain management like some nurses rely on antidepressants,antianxiety, antipsychotics,i could go on and on, for the few out there who abuse and steal drugs from patients i feel nothing but pity for them. maybe they are going through the same struggles i was before i found doctors who specialise in pain management. it took me 3 years to find someone who understood i wasnt a drug seeker, but a vital human being who when pain control is utilized i am a highly valuable nurse who can go to work, be a mom, a wife and just simply feel like a human. with out pain management i would not have a life, i would be on ssd, i wouldnt be able to participate in my childrens lives, for i would be in too much pain to enjoy even a single hour of out door activity. so please all you black and white only 1 answer persons who got into nursing for the compassion you felt for the indegint, can you not feel the same compassion for your co-workers. you always hear of the team player, just think how much more of a team player you culd be if you knew a collegue has chronic pain, would you not pitch in more, would you not understand why they take a day or two off, wouldn't that person be so greatful to you that you understood. what kind of nursing would that be???? you ask. ill tell you , i for one am fortunate to have the kind of coworkers i have just mentioned to you, when i am good, im very good, help my fellow nurses, work for them on days they need off andthey in turn, work for me on the day or two that i cant. now that is team work, pure and simple
Nov 29, '04Quote from stbernardclubI totally respect this, stbernard, even though I don't think this post was directed at me I respect this.I HAVE A NO TOLORANCE ATTITUTE TO NURSES WHO TAKE MEDICATIONS FROM PATIENTS, PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!
As a nurse who DID take medications from patients, what I did was very very very wrong. All I can do now is move forward and keep my tail clean.
This past weekend at work I told all my weekend nurses that I was an addict, have been in treatment for the past few months and after this week will no longer be passing narcs. I go sign my contract with TPAP wednesday. The ones I told were very supportive to me. I am sure when my story spreads around the building I will get some negative responses but that's ok too.
I am just happy to no longer have ANY secrets!!!
Feb 22, '05I used to work with a nurse who would always bring in cinnamon
flavored candy,gum, etc... to share with the other nurses. Then
we found out that she was "drinking" on the job and her drink of choice
was cinnamon schnapps. After this came out she went into rehab and
12 weeks later was back to work "sober". A month or so after that, she
was seen taking patient meds and charting that they were given. i.e.
she would get out 2 pills and give one, take the other and chart she had
given both. More than one person witnessed her taking the meds and she
was fired soon after.
Feb 23, '05I find it hard to beleive but I myself am currentley going through substance abuse.....I went to my employeer and asked for help. I was going threw personal matters as well(I was sexually abused as a child and am just now dealing with that issue). I was diverting pain pills to numb myself from all the pain and anguish. Though it does not make it right, it also does not make me a bad nurse. People think that nurses are in human and do not have to deal with what goes on in the "real world" but we do. We are human and make mistakes too.....We are so quick to jump and help others but turn our back on ourselfs. I have applied to participate in the TPAPN program but was also told by the Texas Dept. of Aging that i would be turned in to the Board...it was my understanding that if you did tpapn you could protect your liscense....does anyone out there know????
Feb 23, '05Quote from southern_rn_bratWhat an awsome story....I too am the same way.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.
Feb 25, '05Quote from nrsrachett74But the BON will still be notified and if they think it is worth investigating, they will contact you with all the info they have on the situation, and tell you that they have 6 months before they have to let you know what will happen with your lic. .... TPAPN is suppose to help you get clean and stay clean and it helps for your BON INVESTIGATION. Thats what I know. Hope it helps. You can call the TX BON or go to the web site and ask if you have been turned in and what the accusation is. :O)I find it hard to beleive but I myself am currentley going through substance abuse.....I went to my employeer and asked for help. I was going threw personal matters as well(I was sexually abused as a child and am just now dealing with that issue). I was diverting pain pills to numb myself from all the pain and anguish. Though it does not make it right, it also does not make me a bad nurse. People think that nurses are in human and do not have to deal with what goes on in the "real world" but we do. We are human and make mistakes too.....We are so quick to jump and help others but turn our back on ourselfs. I have applied to participate in the TPAPN program but was also told by the Texas Dept. of Aging that i would be turned in to the Board...it was my understanding that if you did tpapn you could protect your liscense....does anyone out there know????
Feb 25, '05Quote from madmadthanks for the info......have found out quite abit of info lately.....some good some bad.....tpapn is so strict i sometimes wonder if it is worth it....i would have to travel 150miles a day to out patient treatment....which with no job for gas would be hard to do let alone pay for the tx.....im not sure which way to turn...But the BON will still be notified and if they think it is worth investigating, they will contact you with all the info they have on the situation, and tell you that they have 6 months before they have to let you know what will happen with your lic. .... TPAPN is suppose to help you get clean and stay clean and it helps for your BON INVESTIGATION. Thats what I know. Hope it helps. You can call the TX BON or go to the web site and ask if you have been turned in and what the accusation is. :O)
Feb 26, '05Quote from nrsrachett74thanks for the info......have found out quite abit of info lately.....some good some bad.....tpapn is so strict i sometimes wonder if it is worth it....i would have to travel 150miles a day to out patient treatment....which with no job for gas would be hard to do let alone pay for the tx.....im not sure which way to turn...
Depends on how much you want to keep your license
Feb 26, '05Quote from nrsrachett74I'm a recovering addict too, but I never heard of TPAPN. Someone please enlighten me.thanks for the info......have found out quite abit of info lately.....some good some bad.....tpapn is so strict i sometimes wonder if it is worth it....i would have to travel 150miles a day to out patient treatment....which with no job for gas would be hard to do let alone pay for the tx.....im not sure which way to turn...