Warning Signs Of Nurses Addicted To Drugs

  1. here is a news story with video

    an increasing number of delaware valley nurses are addicted to drugs and they're using on job. investigative reporter jim osman warns us of a sign that a nurse could be swiping medication meant for you.

    cbs 3 exposed the secret some local nurses were hiding. they would do anything to get the drugs while on the job, one nurse even lying to say she needed it for a patient.

    "you could just say his pressure was high and i gave him the morphine and it helped but actually you kind of took it for yourself," said one philadelphia nurse who did not want to be indentified.

    note: at the end of the video, there are nurses feedback that were not happy with the report.

    full story: http://kyw.com/topstories/local_story_333161854.html

    full story: http://kyw.com/topstories/local_story_333161854.html
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Jessy_RN
    Great article.........
  4. by   nurse4theplanet
    this is sooo sad that such valuable professionals get caught up in taking their patients prescription medication and lose themselves to addiction. It makes you wonder what they were thinking when they took the first dose. How do they justify that so they can sleep at night? How do others around them not notice a change in their behavoir?
  5. by   P_RN
    A couple of us around a "using" nurse all thought we were alone in thinking this person was wacko. I thought she just didn't like me when she'd say hateful things. (She got caught holding)

    Another guy we all thought was a little too experienced in all his tall tales. He was like 22 but said he'd been a military medic, special ops, etc , he'd put in dozens of central lines (he was an LPN)

    The NM said we just didn't like him cause he was male--HUH? Anyway a PYXIS search by a few of us found he'd been looking up who got what.

    That's how they do it....divide the observers into different camps and keep them guessing.

    20-20 hindsight I can see every little thing so plainly.
  6. by   NP2BE
    We had a guy who wan an ACNP practicing as an RN (he just finished NP school) in ICU. HE was using morphine to lower afterload so he said. He never got verifiably busted, he beat the urine tests and then he refused to take one, and resigned. But he gave more narcs then anyone else did by far.

    A side note. I think the system is imperfect, and needs to stay that way. More random urine screens and hair tests are the only acceptable control, but further restrictions on narc access or anything that makes narcs more of a hassle then they already are will have one overwhelming effects and not likely help curb the problem. the effect - INEFECTIVE PAIN MANAGEMENT.
  7. by   suebird3
    we had a user at work, too. terrific nurse when she was "clean". unfortunately, she would use whenever she got some money.

    who knows what sends people over the edge? can be any number of things: stress, addictive personality....

    suebird
  8. by   grannynurse FNP student
    Quote from brian
    here is a news story with video

    an increasing number of delaware valley nurses are addicted to drugs and they're using on job. investigative reporter jim osman warns us of a sign that a nurse could be swiping medication meant for you.

    cbs 3 exposed the secret some local nurses were hiding. they would do anything to get the drugs while on the job, one nurse even lying to say she needed it for a patient.

    "you could just say his pressure was high and i gave him the morphine and it helped but actually you kind of took it for yourself," said one philadelphia nurse who did not want to be indentified.

    note: at the end of the video, there are nurses feedback that were not happy with the report.

    full story: http://kyw.com/topstories/local_story_333161854.html

    full story: http://kyw.com/topstories/local_story_333161854.html

    the title is somewhat misleading, as the only warning sign the reporter offered, was patients complaining of pain. a representative of the state program offered a warning sign of pain complaints being represented as undermediation and diverting. sorry but continued complaints of pain may just mean that the patient is being undermedicated and nears more or a change.

    grannynurse
  9. by   sjrn85
    Agreed; I'd hate to think someone would be gunning for me if I had a pt. whose pain wasn't well controlled.
  10. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Since most of us use Pyxis or a similar machine these days, it's a relatively easy matter to identify 'diverters'.

    All you have to do is compare usage per unit against all the nurses on that unit.

    It's a simple programming instruction. What it will give you is a bell curve. A diverter will show up way outside the standard deviations.

    Take potential diverters (ID'd by being outside the bell curve) and monitor their machine use. If they routinely check up on what narcs other pts are on, document document.

    Then set up a video and record the machine when they are working.

    Piece of cake.

    I rarely pick my nose near the machine: I assume it's being filmed. And I always assume that every screen I pull up on the machine is recorded for posterity.

    I can steal a narc and take it home and prob would never get caught. I could prob steal 10. 20. 100.

    But if I was using (or selling), it would only be a matter of time before I couldn't hide it. It's only a matter of time before the hospitals start monitoring this like I suggested above. At that level of monitoring, diverters can be ID'd BEFORE they get to the point where they are shorting pts (instead of just using 'unused' doses.)

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  11. by   gwenith
    As far as I know no-one here in Aust uses a Pyxis system just the old fashioned sign out book and locked cupboard. Unfortunately under those circumstances it is very, very difficult to identify the determined drug taker who is a nurse. Especially in the early stages, later when they have become sloppy - THEN is when you will catch them.
  12. by   juliebean4u
    Having been accused of diverting meds by a disgruntled co-worker after he was fired for sleeping on the job, I can point out another side to those of us nurses who happen to sign out more narcotics. (By the way, I was cleared of any wrongdoing because of my belief in good documentation.) Having been trained in effective pain management as a hospice nurse, I of course make that one of the priorities of my assessments. Pain, if not recognized or addressed, snowballs into many other symptoms. Many doctors undermedicate unless we nurses advocate for the patient with poor pain control. Unfortunately, too, I see many nurses with the outdated attitude that they will cause their patients to become addicts, or that the patients are "sissies" or drug-seekers. Yes, signing out more meds than other nurses is a red flag, but not always. A shame to have to be nervous about it, but a fact of our profession.


    KEEP ON ROCKING IN THE FREE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!
  13. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from juliebean4u
    Having been accused of diverting meds by a disgruntled co-worker after he was fired for sleeping on the job, I can point out another side to those of us nurses who happen to sign out more narcotics. (By the way, I was cleared of any wrongdoing because of my belief in good documentation.) Having been trained in effective pain management as a hospice nurse, I of course make that one of the priorities of my assessments. Pain, if not recognized or addressed, snowballs into many other symptoms. Many doctors undermedicate unless we nurses advocate for the patient with poor pain control. Unfortunately, too, I see many nurses with the outdated attitude that they will cause their patients to become addicts, or that the patients are "sissies" or drug-seekers. Yes, signing out more meds than other nurses is a red flag, but not always. A shame to have to be nervous about it, but a fact of our profession.


    KEEP ON ROCKING IN THE FREE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!
    I'm a believer. I'm right there with you. But don't get me wrong. That might move you down the standard deviation line but you'd still prob be within the bell curve. A diverter would be off the chart.

    There is normally enough space between diversion and pain control advocate to segregate the bad apples from the good.

    I'll say this, I have a habit of pulling up the administration histories on all my pts on the machine before I leave. One time I found that somebody gave a narc for one of MY pts that I knew nothing about, I wrote it up. Turns out it was a mistake that he meant to punch the name above my pt and they were both on the same narc so he didn't realize the mistake. And I believe him. But pharmacy tore apart his access record before THEY believed him.

    The only other time I found out in my history that someone had given a narc in my pt's name was an agency nurse that worked for 1 day - and in that day diverted 22 narcs from pts he wasn't taking care of (and who knows how many from the ones actually assigned to him!) Pharmacy didn't need my help to piece that together.

    But somebody sloppy enough to divert a med from one of my pts will end up having some 'splaining to do.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  14. by   grannynurse FNP student
    I wonder how many realise that impaired nurses do not divert or steal from their patients? And that many do not use at work?

    Grannynurse

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