Nurses Who Are Drug Addicts - page 12

I work with a nurse who I suspect is using drugs, and I think she is stealing them from the facility. Of those of you that have encountered this problem, what were the signs and symptoms? Thanks.... Read More

  1. by   Cattitude
    Quote from burn out
    Note: I refer to " you" figuratively not in refereence to cattitude or any one person in particular.

    Yes it is all about choices. You may not have chosen to become an addict but you choose the drugs to make you an addict , don't try splitting hairs. I am so sick of the poor woe me addicts look what I did to myself. If you can't make wise decisions for yourself you certainly can't make wise ones for your patients. Yes you got caught like you deserved to and need to pay the price like you deserve too. Personally, it is too much for society to bear your burdens of stupid decisions and shouldn't have to worry about what to do with you when you burn you bridges to a decent livelihood. You don't belong bedside nursing with your hand in the narcotics box, you have already proven your weakness . I firmly believe in the old addage, trick me once shame on you, trick me twice shame on me...if it were up to me I wouldn't hire any nurse with a drug problem to pass narcotics, and I wouldn't hire an alcoholic as a bartender.
    Many addicted nurses start out by taking medication for pain. So I don't understand how that's "choosing" to be an addict. You use pain meds, unfortunately sometimes an addiction develops.

    Or sometimes there are other things going on in the nurse's life and then yes the nurse is self medicating, so to speak. Whether it's street drugs, prescription meds, alcohol. If someone is using a substance, initially if it makes YOU feel better to say it's a choice, go for it.

    Not every nurse steals from patients. Not every nurse gets "caught". Some actually get treatment on their own! And not every recovered nurse works aroun narcs either.

    There will always be opinions like yours. Always be one or two people completely on the negative side but that's FINE. It doesn't make me feel bad for me. It makes me feel bad for patients. For if you can think of your fellow nurses like this and have not one ounce of compassion, what must you think of the addicted patient who crosses your path? Or any patient who you dissaprove of? Are you telling me you're able to put aside your prejudices about addiction then? I think not.
  2. by   traumaRUs
    It is very important also that if you suspect a nurse of diverting meds or being under the influence, that you NOT discuss it among co-workers. Take it directly to the supervisor. This type of accusation, if unfounded, can ruin someone's reputation if left as gossip.
  3. by   rn/writer
    Quote from traumaRUs
    It is very important also that if you suspect a nurse of diverting meds or being under the influence, that you NOT discuss it among co-workers. Take it directly to the supervisor. This type of accusation, if unfounded, can ruin someone's reputation if left as gossip.
    :yeahthat:
  4. by   burn out
    Quote from Cattitude

    There will always be opinions like yours. Always be one or two people completely on the negative side but that's FINE. It doesn't make me feel bad for me. It makes me feel bad for patients. For if you can think of your fellow nurses like this and have not one ounce of compassion, what must you think of the addicted patient who crosses your path? Or any patient who you dissaprove of? Are you telling me you're able to put aside your prejudices about addiction then? I think not.
    I thought we were talking about addicted nurses. Am I suppose to treat you as an addicted patient or an equal co-worker? Sorry but I don't treat any of my co-workers like they are my patients-you are splitting hairs again. You can't be the nurse and the addicted patient at the same time. If you were my patient I would treat you like all the rest of the pain seeking addicts that come to my hospital (and don't we all just love them.) If you came to my hospital as a nurse I would treat you as an equal assuming you had no addiction problems. If you came as a nurse with an addiction to work I would watch you like a hawk and would not want you near my patients rooms with medicines.
    One thing I would not do and do not think it appropriate is to treat you like a patient while you are in a nursing role -we can not be equal that way.
  5. by   TCRNCOB61
    Quote from burn out
    I thought we were talking about addicted nurses. Am I suppose to treat you as an addicted patient or an equal co-worker? Sorry but I don't treat any of my co-workers like they are my patients-you are splitting hairs again. You can't be the nurse and the addicted patient at the same time. If you were my patient I would treat you like all the rest of the pain seeking addicts that come to my hospital (and don't we all just love them.) If you came to my hospital as a nurse I would treat you as an equal assuming you had no addiction problems. If you came as a nurse with an addiction to work I would watch you like a hawk and would not want you near my patients rooms with medicines.
    One thing I would not do and do not think it appropriate is to treat you like a patient while you are in a nursing role -we can not be equal that way.



    I have worked hard for my recovery and would hope to be cared for with compassion while in the hospital. My addiction started with pain meds for my migraines and a very abusive husband. My life is much better now with treatment for the migraines, depression and getting rid of said husband. I fight hard everyday for my recovery because I know just how easy it would be to just take a pill to make it all better for just a few min. but the problems would still be there.

    I chose recovery. I chose a good life.

    I am so glad I work with nurses who are understanding. I pass narcs. everyday now without fear because I have a good recovery program.

    Theresa
    Last edit by Tweety on Jul 1, '07 : Reason: personal discussions removed.
  6. by   Cattitude
    Quote from TCRNCOB61
    I
    I chose recovery. I chose a good life.

    I am so glad I work with nurses who are understanding. I pass narcs. everyday now without fear because I have a good recovery program.

    Theresa
    Theresa you're 100% right about NOT letting negativity beat you down. there's always going to be someone trying to push you back, waiting for you to fail. Some people in life just want to be miserable (this is generally speaking and NOT directed at any one person). I had a person in my life like that and guess what? They are no longer in my life. I refuse to surround myself with misery!

    Hold your head up and feel the love darlin'!!!1luvu::icon_hug:
    Last edit by Tweety on Jul 1, '07 : Reason: referenced edited posts
  7. by   leslie :-D
    i'll tell you where my skepticism comes into play.

    i have someone in my family who has been a user for most of their adult life, starting in their teen yrs.
    for more than 20 yrs, i have watched this person go to the meetings (even twice/noc), continual contact with their sponsor, therapy, finding God, family involvement/support and abstinence for yrs at a time.

    then relapse.
    sometimes for only a day;
    other times, would start using for months.
    and then the whole process of recovery would start over.

    i know this person is totally focused on recovery.
    but how does one know that they won't use again?

    as much as i love this person, it's hard to trust they won't relapse.
    now, being a nurse, don't you think it is even more dangerous to potentially slip?

    i very much honor those who are committed to their recoveries.
    yet i don't think anyone can honestly say that they'll never go back, even if it is temporary.
    just as anyone else who struggles with other types of addiction....gambling, eating, smoking, etc.
    to say that one will never go back to their old ways, just seems unrealistic.

    any thoughts, input, insight?

    leslie
  8. by   TCRNCOB61
    Quote from earle58
    i'll tell you where my skepticism comes into play.

    i have someone in my family who has been a user for most of their adult life, starting in their teen yrs.
    for more than 20 yrs, i have watched this person go to the meetings (even twice/noc), continual contact with their sponsor, therapy, finding God, family involvement/support and abstinence for yrs at a time.

    then relapse.
    sometimes for only a day;
    other times, would start using for months.
    and then the whole process of recovery would start over.

    i know this person is totally focused on recovery.
    but how does one know that they won't use again?

    as much as i love this person, it's hard to trust they won't relapse.
    now, being a nurse, don't you think it is even more dangerous to potentially slip?

    i very much honor those who are committed to their recoveries.
    yet i don't think anyone can honestly say that they'll never go back, even if it is temporary.
    just as anyone else who struggles with other types of addiction....gambling, eating, smoking, etc.
    to say that one will never go back to their old ways, just seems unrealistic.

    any thoughts, input, insight?

    leslie
    I don't know that one day I won't relapse, but with a good recovery program the odds are with me not my disease. I have to take my "medicine" (meetings, read, call sponsor, pray) EVERYDAY just like I take my blood pressure medicine everyday.

    I stay honest with the people around me, I let them help me now. Before I thought I could save the world all by myself.

    I did relapse when my dad died 4 years ago, I got a migraine headache and took pain medicine I was not supposed to (my own script from a few years ago). I have never taken pain meds from a pt. or from a place of work. I always managed to get them from my doctors and took lots of benadryl to numb the pain. Little did I understand that the pain was still there when I got clean and I had to learn to deal with it.

    I don't say I will never relapse. I am clean JUST FOR TODAY!

    Theresa
  9. by   leslie :-D
    thank you, theresa.
    and i know all too well, the "one day at a time".
    after living w/repeated relapses, sometimes my life gets consumed with "what ifs?"
    as i've stated already, it's a journey for all involved.

    thanks again.
    i appreciate your thoughts.

    leslie
  10. by   edchunt
    Wonder what what would happen if all nurses were drug tested right now? Just a thought. I was reading these posts and thought I would tell my story. I have been an LPN for four years now. I started out on probation because I had a third DUI in 2000. I don't drink or use anything now. I have been sober for three yeaes and one month now, not a drop ever. I went through the probation with the LPN board, satisfied everything with the courts did my time had counseling and satisfied all stipulations. It was tough to get a job with the background, the state mental facility was the only ones understanding to give me some work. I worked for them while on probation two different imes, they hired me on permanent and I was able to finish out my probation while employed there. I was in the middle of an RN program that I just graduated from in May. My LPN license is unencumbered and current, free and clear. Since submitting application to test for RN, back in May I have watched my classmates take their tests and work as RNs. The RN board is placing my license on monitoring for one year with random drug screens and a $1,000 dollar fine along with alcohol education. I still haven't been issued a temp license. So I know what it's like to go through the recovery an the answer no to job apps because I was on probation and all the red tape. While I realize and do agree with discipline for prior convictions. I do wonder why I should have to do it twice. I wonder why it is taking so long to process the paperwork, but I do realize it is the state board and will take months. In the meantime the state mental hospital is wanting me to come back to work, they think I did a good job and they can't wait to get me back. I can't go to work as an RN till the BON is done bumbling with the paperwork. They have already told me that I have been approved to test, but no temp license yet. I can go to work as an LPN without stipulations, but I am waiting to pay a $1,000 fine and be monitored as an RN. I'm just glad the mental hospital believed in me and give me a chance. And by the way the rehab has worked for me and made me a stronger person. These things happened prior to me going to LPN school, I worked them out and about to pay double when the RN license comes through. I just thought this would be a good place to share this.
    Last edit by edchunt on Jul 1, '07
  11. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from Cattitude

    So... say your suspicions are true... Please go to your manager first. She will know what to do. In most states ther are programs designed to assist nurses with substance abuse/alcohol problems. Whatever you do, please do NOT report this to your state's BON. If this is needed, your manager/facility will do this.


    Beez
    i am only beginning to read the start of this thread and so, am responding accordingly.

    cattitude, even though one would think tptb would handle these situations appropriately, it is simply not the case.

    i am thinking of a nurse i worked with, who all the other nurses were complaining about (re: diverting, being high).
    i too had strong suspicions.
    the final straw was when i came to work one morning, and she was totally incoherent, eyes half closed, unable to hold herself up, slurred speech...and a couple of pts whose pain had been well-controlled but were audibly crying out that morning.

    i wanted to report her to the BON but instead, told the DON.
    long story short: this nurse was pulled from our floor and switched to another.
    i was the only one who spoke up so i ended up being treated like the bad guy.
    2 patients even had a talk with the DON, about this nurse.

    if this ever happens again, i will know to go directly to the BON.
    you don't need to have proof; just reasonable suspicion.

    leslie
  12. by   Cattitude
    Quote from earle58
    i am only beginning to read the start of this thread and so, am responding accordingly.

    cattitude, even though one would think tptb would handle these situations appropriately, it is simply not the case.

    i am thinking of a nurse i worked with, who all the other nurses were complaining about (re: diverting, being high).
    i too had strong suspicions.
    the final straw was when i came to work one morning, and she was totally incoherent, eyes half closed, unable to hold herself up, slurred speech...and a couple of pts whose pain had been well-controlled but were audibly crying out that morning.

    i wanted to report her to the BON but instead, told the DON.
    long story short: this nurse was pulled from our floor and switched to another.
    i was the only one who spoke up so i ended up being treated like the bad guy.
    2 patients even had a talk with the DON, about this nurse.

    if this ever happens again, i will know to go directly to the BON.
    you don't need to have proof; just reasonable suspicion.

    leslie
    Yea Leslie you're right. As I learn more and hear scary stories I have changed my mind as well. It does seem that TPTB are NOT all doing their jobs.
  13. by   burn out
    I am not the one with the problem...the drug addict is. I divorced my husband over his drug problems and have never seen him since and he didn't mind if he took me down with him either. I certainly don't want to work with that kind of person. He lied to cover up his problem like I am sure most addicts do so how are we to ever trust them again? Then they play the poor me card , I have so many problems or I have so much pain but when confronted with tough love or the truth or worse yet they get their fix, there is no living with them they turn into some kind of monster. I have seen the pain med seekers in the ER come in for a fix, when you tell them they can't have the medicine until the doctor sees them oh how they suffer but the minute they get their fix out the door treating you like a piece of trash cussing and cursing leaving AMA. I bet if these addicted nurses saw themselves in their times of need they wouldn't want to take care of themselves. i am so sick of the deaths that drugs have caused, the teen overdoses that died just this year at my childrens school. Yes I am sick of drug addicts and their self inflicted problems. I don't want to treat them at the nurses station as well as the bedside.Give me a break. Poor woe me.
    Last edit by Tweety on Jul 1, '07 : Reason: referenced deleted post

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