My CRNA friends do illegal drugs - page 7

Two of my friends who are CRNA's take recreational ecstasy almost every weekend. They will take it on Saturday night...stay up all night....and then try to sleep it off on Sunday. When Monday... Read More

  1. by   kadokin
    This is an interesting ethical dilemna. On the one hand, a person's off time is their own. They should be free to do as they choose. On the other hand, they (medical professionals) of all people, should know better.

    Should you report or confront?

    I had always thought that confronting someone that you know on a personal level would be a better first option than reporting them sight unseen. You know, give them a chance to make good, before you potentially deep six their career. For lack of a better analogy, if you know a friend is cheating on their spouse, who (if anyone) do you go to first, the spouse or the cuckold? (All things being equal, I suppose I would keep it to myself in the cheating situation). But a potentially impaired, critical health-care provider, don't know if I could hold it in.

    Then, I went to nursing school. The dean of our program was dead-set against confronting people who you suspect of diverting narcotics. As she put it, "These are DANGEROUS people". At first, I laughed. I am no innocent, I grew up around people that abuse substances. These are people who have helped me when I needed it and that I consider my friends. On the OTHER hand, I happen to know that substance abuse can involve some STRANGE bedfellows. And people who use ILLEGAL substances must, of neccessity, be involved w/the STRANGE and DANGEROUS.

    So, anyway, my point is: Do you really want to get on the bad side of someone who is involved w/illegal drug traffiking? (Ecstacy qualfies).

    If you feel it is a safety issue, don't put your own bad self at risk to help others.

    Food for thought.
  2. by   jackstem
    Quote from tiva2
    the american association of nurse anesthetists has a website: aana.com which offers peer assistance to crnas with substance abuse/use problems. perhaps, you could encourage your friends to access the 800 hotline. from what i gather, they are very supportive not punity.
    this has been an interesting thread.

    my name is jack, and i'm a recovering fentanyl/sufentanil addict. i became addicted in the early 90's when i was dealing with spondylolisthesis and increasinglt severe chronic pain. i eventually had a spinal fusion which significantly relieved the pain.

    i am the peer assistance advisor for the ohio state association of nurse anesthetists (osana). my duties include speaking about the risks of addiction in the crna (10-20%), assisting in the development of policies and procedures regarding suspected abuse, investigation, intervention, treatment, re-entry into practice issues, contracts for re-entry, aftercare issues, and to participate in interventions if requested.

    i have 11 years clean and voluntarily surrendered my license because i determined it would be dangerous for me to return to practice.

    if these 2 crnas are ingesting an illegal designer drug, they are violating the nurse practice act. the decision to use/abuse an illegal substance is very concerning. while they may not be addicted to the substance, their use shows a less than rational thought process. and, if they are willing to use illegal drugs, they are an increased risk to divert meds from the hospital.

    for additional information please feel free to contact me by phone or email (go to my website for email address and phone number: http://jackstem.com/ohio-peer-assist.htm)

    or go to the aana peers assistance page:
    http://aana.com/resources.aspx?ucnav...nuid=6&id=191&

    another excellent site is called allanesthesia. they have produced a series of dvd's entitled "wearing masks" that deal with substance abuse and addiction in the anesthesia professional (the dvd is free!).
    http://allanesthesia.com/

    if these crna's practice in california, i can help you get in-touch with the peer assistance advisor in that state. she is more than willing to talk with you about this and may have some advice for you. or, you can follow this link to get the information on california's peer assistance adviro.
    http://aana.com/peer/directory.asp?state=ca

    here's the link to the alabama peer assistance advisor:
    http://aana.com/peer/directory.asp?state=al

    finally, here's the hotline number: 800-654-5167

    please don't hesitate to contact me. see my profile for email information.

    jack
    Last edit by rn/writer on Oct 7, '06
  3. by   rukarma2
    maybe this site will help you with the consequent of this drug. http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofacts/ecstasy.html
  4. by   BSNtobe2009
    I'll give you a HUGE piece of advice.

    Do you know that background investigations companies can order a "drug history" report on you and this is 100% legal information to pass onto future employers?

    I swear if it were me, I would find a way to have them reported without someone knowing it's me. Those drugs are heavy duty...we aren't talking about a little pot here whose affects go away in a couple of hours. When you are dealing with anesthesia, that is the most important part of the surgery next to the surgery itself. How would you feel if you found out a patient ended up brain-dead after one of your "friends" spent a night out on the town? This happens with the most minor of surgeries.

    If it is discovered that they are doing illegal drugs, and they show up positive on a drug test, the hospital can and should forward this information to future employers and it is 100% legal to do so. The reason is, a drug test is considered to be "3rd party verifyable"...either you passed the drug test or you didn't, and isn't subject to individual interpretation or opinion.

    Anyone who will risk their entire career for drugs to me, needs to be in rehab.

    I hope you will do the right thing.
  5. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from DrugReptoNurse
    Thanks for the advice. I've already spoken to both of them previously and told them I think they have a problem. They disagree and wouldn't consider any form of intervention or rehabilitation. I think I'll keep this matter between us and keep the BON out of it. I've known both of these women for 5 years and hope they know what they are doing. For the record....they do not practice in Alabama. They practice in California.
    Remember your training...people that have a problem abusing drugs rarely admit they have a problem and one of the SYMPTOMS is "putting your work or career unnecessarily at risk."
  6. by   BSNin2007
    I am "only" a nursing student as well, but it seems to me that you display better judgement than the two CRNA's of which you speak. I am not minimizing their "commitment" as I can only imagine the difficulty of the programs and boards they have succeeded in passing, and I don't know how I'd handle the situation either. There is one thing that I can say for sure, I wouldn't want someone with a drug habbit to anesthitize one of my loved ones. That being said, aren't most patients someone's loved one?
  7. by   kaeri
    i believe you should not report them. it may be that the substance is illegal - but so is under-age drinking/drink-driving/homosexuality/ smoking pot etc.they are not using mdma the night prior to their shift.
    dont meddle - the chance of them making a mistake is less than the person who was on an alcohol soaked bender until 1 am monday morning. or smoked pot last evening. marijuana has a much longer half-life and 1 joint/bong can stay in the adipose tissue for 48-72hrs. i've seen +ve results 6 - 8 weeks after last joint.

    why do you think they would make a mistake? because they are sleep-deprived? because they have a small amount of stimulant in their blood stream? because they are doing something illegal?

    i think your reasoning is specious and you may need to look at why you have the urge to report someone. we seem to have become a society of do-gooders where we need to be recognised for how many negative behaviours we can report to the authorities. perhaps the status of fear which our govts have induced us to live in has heightened our need for reassurance from a paternalistic figure-head. like in grade 1 when your teacher thanks you for reporting britney for chewing gum and later gives you a lollypop when you report kevin for writing on his arm. "miss, i was worried that he might get ink poisoning." "yes, thank you goody, we need to watch those 2 - they will be a bad influence and they will make many mistakes. here's a lollypop for you and you be my eyes and ears."

    cheers
    kaeri
  8. by   kaeri
    Quote from BSNin2007
    There is one thing that I can say for sure, I wouldn't want someone with a drug habbit to anesthitize one of my loved ones.
    PS: This use is not a drug habit. It is what is termed recreational.

    Would you be saying that a person who takes anti-depressants daily and has formed an addiction, in that sudden cessation would precipitate physical and mental discomfort, should not be in a position of responsibility?

    and to the ex fentanyl addict: because they use MDMA it follows they will steal meds??? Perhaps you did, perhaps you have seen others do it, but it doesnt mean everyone who has an illegal weekend activity will undertake illegal activity at work. etc etc.
    cheers
    kaeri
  9. by   MedSurgMale
    The facility where I work has a policy of random urine testing. Therefore, it's not worth the risk to jeopardize my nursing license/employment. I believe people can drink alcohol responsibly and in moderation, and I assume use other substances, legal or illegal, in the same manner and not be under the influence at work at a later time. This implies an understanding of how you are affected by a drug, risk of long-term effects and potential problems. Perhaps you can party all Saturday night, sleep it off on Sunday, and feel fine, alert and focused Monday morning. I would not report or confront anyone unless they appeared to be impaired at work.
  10. by   BSNin2007
    [quote=kaeri]PS: This use is not a drug habit. It is what is termed recreational.

    Would you be saying that a person who takes anti-depressants daily and has formed an addiction, in that sudden cessation would precipitate physical and mental discomfort, should not be in a position of responsibility?

    and to the ex fentanyl addict: because they use MDMA it follows they will steal meds??? Perhaps you did, perhaps you have seen others do it, but it doesnt mean everyone who has an illegal weekend activity will undertake illegal activity at work. etc etc.
    cheers
    kaeri[/quote

    Perhaps you misunderstood me, I did not imply these people have an addiction, but certainly something someone does on a weekly basis can be considered ritualistic and therefore a "habbit.' Semantics aside when your child, mother, husband needs to be anesthetized you can call the people who had used mind altering, unregulated drugs the weekend before, I choose not to.
  11. by   bonn2424
    drugreptonurse,

    by you writting this passage means that you at least wanted to the the right thing, and i believe that you really know what that is. I f you dont report the matter to the bon it should be reported to someone who has some type of influence over them, (maybe their reporting Physician/anesthesiologist, or an office co-worker, or even anonymously) not to get them fired but to get them HELP. THIS IS AN ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE, COCAINE IS STILL COCAINE. If something happens as a result of this then why shouldnt you be held partly responsible. If these people valued the 8 years of struggling to get to the position that they are in they would not jeaprodize their career for an illegal fix. If they would use this judgement outside of work why wouldnt they eventually bring it to the workplace? I mean, I really hate it and would not like to be in your position, but bad judgement is just bad judgement outside the workplace or in. I believe that if one can make a judgement to use illegal substances against nursing policy, that same one would lie to protect themselves or their job. We as students, nurses, friends etc. should not cover for this type of behavior, IT ITS WRONG! and covering it up makes us just as wrong. I will not apologize for telling the truth! GOD still rules!
  12. by   pickledpepperRN
    Quote from jackstem
    this has been an interesting thread.

    my name is jack, and i'm a recovering fentanyl/sufentanil addict. i became addicted in the early 90's when i was dealing with spondylolisthesis and increasinglt severe chronic pain. i eventually had a spinal fusion which significantly relieved the pain.

    i am the peer assistance advisor for the ohio state association of nurse anesthetists (osana). my duties include speaking about the risks of addiction in the crna (10-20%), assisting in the development of policies and procedures regarding suspected abuse, investigation, intervention, treatment, re-entry into practice issues, contracts for re-entry, aftercare issues, and to participate in interventions if requested.

    i have 11 years clean and voluntarily surrendered my license because i determined it would be dangerous for me to return to practice.

    if these 2 crnas are ingesting an illegal designer drug, they are violating the nurse practice act. the decision to use/abuse an illegal substance is very concerning. while they may not be addicted to the substance, their use shows a less than rational thought process. and, if they are willing to use illegal drugs, they are an increased risk to divert meds from the hospital.

    for additional information please feel free to contact me by phone or email (go to my website for email address and phone number: http://jackstem.com/ohio-peer-assist.htm)

    or go to the aana peers assistance page:
    http://aana.com/resources.aspx?ucnav...nuid=6&id=191&

    another excellent site is called allanesthesia. they have produced a series of dvd's entitled "wearing masks" that deal with substance abuse and addiction in the anesthesia professional (the dvd is free!).
    http://allanesthesia.com/

    if these crna's practice in california, i can help you get in-touch with the peer assistance advisor in that state. she is more than willing to talk with you about this and may have some advice for you. or, you can follow this link to get the information on california's peer assistance adviro.
    http://aana.com/peer/directory.asp?state=ca

    here's the link to the alabama peer assistance advisor:
    http://aana.com/peer/directory.asp?state=al

    finally, here's the hotline number: 800-654-5167

    please don't hesitate to contact me. see my profile for email information.

    jack
    thank you!

    i am very concerned that there is even a discussion about whether it is ok for any registered nurse to use illegal drugs.
    no it is not acceptable.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Oct 7, '06
  13. by   Dakkon76
    Quote from asoldierswife05
    Sorry to say, I disagree with you all. While I acknowledge these people have worked extremely hard for their license, and it is possible they have never been "impaired" during a case...it is not certain. The sheer fact that they can use, and rationalize the use, of illegal designer drugs shows poor judgement. It is impossible to know whether they are minimizing the effects of the drug abuse to make others feel as though it has no impact on their performance during anesthesia. I feel as if the right thing to do would be to confront your friend in a firm, yet non judgemental manner and insist that they have a drug problem and should seek immediate help. And the consequences for refusing to help will force you to speak to their employer. I would not take it to the BON. This is my opinion, how I would handle it, and I don't expect anyone to agree with me. Just my two cents.
    I agree... and considering the damaging effects of ecstacy... these people have to be completely [suggested edit by mod] ... you get the idea.
    Last edit by Dakkon76 on Oct 7, '06

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