Drug Abuse Among Us?? - page 8

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   shinninginthelight
    some of you "nurses" should be ashamed of yourselves. substance abuse is a disease and should be treated as such. nurses today are under tremendouse amounts of stress at work and the supply is so readily available some people just arent strong enough to stop themselves... these nurses need help not jail time! education should be done to prevent abuse. it is less costly and effiecant. if that doesnt work they should be treated. and slowly placed back into the work place starting with a low case load and then working back to there normal case load.

    remember most of us became nurses to help people
    arent nurses people too............?
  2. by   teeituptom
    Shininginthelight, Im not disagreeing with you that it is a disease process. but
    Stealing drugs is theft and is illegal
    Fraud in forging scripts is illegal
    Illegal possession of drugs is a felony
    selling stolen drugs is highly illegal
    driving under the influence is illegal and very dangerous to self and others.
    The law is the Law and justice isnt blind, maybe put them in prison and let them be prison nurses. But keep them away from hosps and away from patients.
  3. by   Squeeta2
    Unfortunately I have seen this happen to a few of my co-workers. It's sad that we are in the profession of helping others but when we as nurses have a problem..pain..addiction..etc.. we are almost forced to keep it to ourselves for fear of being labelled for life how do you ask for help when you know that confidentiality is a joke among your peers?
    I had the pleasure of working with a very well educated detail oriented nurse.She had a MS04 addiction. When questioned she pointed the finger at me..Unfortunately for her I have a very well documented anaphylatic reaction to MS04..I get scared drawing it up when I'm tired or in a rush. I begged for a drug screen. After hearing that she said well maybe she took it home for someone else. I was mortified!! She is currently in rehab program & I believe doing well.
    She is a great nurse who had an unresolved chronic pain management issue.
    Would I work with her again today? Absolutely! Would I do the narc count with her? I feel the hairs rising on the back of my neck thinking about it...but to be fair & hold true to MY own beliefs..I would hafta say yes...BUT I would be Oh so carefull!!
  4. by   Boop
    I'm new to this sight and have just read all the post's. Is this just a place where all the old post's are kept? Please let me know (someone) because I would like to tell my story if possible
  5. by   DnThomts
    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 ??
    Yes. Keep in mind that nurses are are just regular old people with the faults of anyone. It's a stressful job and unfortunately like people from all walks of life, some will turn to the drus for relief. But unlike most people, keep in mind that next to the pharmacist, nurses have more direct contact and access to narcotics than anyone else. And for nurses prone to drug abuse or seeking drugs for what ever reason, it's right there in your face everyday at work. But be warned, you would be amazed at the little ways, secrets, wierd underground scientific ways the hospital and pharmacies have of monitoring narcotic distibution, who's taking what , when , where, how often and why. It's like a NASA project.
  6. by   vanillaskye
    A fellow nurse that I had worked with passed away last spring. It turns out that she had been caught diverting at the hospital that we worked at. She had chronic pain issues and was put on Employee Assistance. I never suspected her of having a problem. No physical indicators, no meds missing. She transferred to another workplace and was diverting again, never got caught. If she had been caught, her life might have been saved. Its a very sad tragedy that a woman in her early 30's with two small children dies. I could understand how she could have gotten away with it. There are often times in places where I've worked that drugs are "wasted" without another nurse present. My state board has an area on its website where you can read disciplinary reports. Most of the reports have to do with diverting.
    About 7 years ago, I worked in a long term care facility. I worked night shift.
    The 3-11 nurse kept dodging me when it came time to count at the end of his shift. Frequently, meds were being "dropped on the floor" and contaminated so that they were "destroyed" and another pill was given. One night, a 60 count bottle of Tylenol #3 had gone missing. Myself and the other nurse searched high and low. It could not be found. We called the nurse at home and he came in to help us search for the med, lo and behold, the entire bottle turned up in the bottom drawer of the med cart. Patients were complaining of pain and saying that they had not remembered getting their pain medication, although it was documented that the med was given. Nothing was done to confront this nurse about his suspected problem.
  7. by   Trauma-tizedRN
    I have worked with 2 nurses that were caught diverting drugs. It happened on 2 different units. Very sad, but it really made it stressful for everyone because they BOTH tried to make it look like someone else was doing it. They too accused others. We were all under suspicion until they got nabbed. No way to work, feeling scared to death you might forget to chart a med or make an error of any sort and have the finger pointed at you.
  8. by   boulergirl
    I made a very dumb mistake two years ago as a med tech. During my shift I let one of my co-workers (not a med tech) take my keys to open the cleaning cart. Then I was busy with residents and saw my keys sitting on the front desk later that shift. (There were three of us working 11-7, and both my co-workers were new aides. Neither one struck me as being entirely trustworthy.)

    Anyway, that morning during the narc count about 50 Darvocets turned up missing. Although my boss believed in my innocence without a doubt, I was written up and suspended indefinitely pending investigation (policy required this). A week later my boss called me back to work. Never told me if I was cleared or not. The other two aides didn't last long.

    Do I hand over my keys to just anyone now? HECK no!!! I learned my lesson: Don't hand the keys over to anyone but another med tech, and make sure the med cart and the med room door are locked when you're not there. I'm very cautious about this now.
  9. by   BeccaRN
    I worked with a nurse who we found out was documenting giving pain meds and taking them herself. When confronted by our floor manager, she admitted she had a problem, they helped her get in to rehab and gave her a nice day job with weekends off in the OR. I've been bugging everyone I can think of to get in the OR. I guess I should just tell them I have a drug problem and then they'll do it.
  10. by   lifeisbeautiful
    Quote from Jen911
    Okay, now a view from the other side of the fence. I have a chronic pain problem for which I have prescribed narcotics.
    You are lucky that you have a physician that actually listens to you and is willing to treat your chronic pain. My mom suffers from chronic pain as well (she has severe RA, fibromyalgia, Sjogren's syndrome and scleroderma), so I know all to well the needless suffering that one can endure.

    This leads me to how pain is dealt with in our society. I feel that pain is under diagnosed and under treated. With all of the fantastic analgesics available for people in pain, why aren't they being used? I personally, would rather be a 'drug addict' and free of pain than, than to suffer, be debilitated, angry and depressed. I feel that this is why many nurses are tempted to steal narcotics. I think many are truly in pain, are not being treated appropriately, but at the same time have easy access to drugs that can relieve their pain. Not that it gives them a right to steal, but I bet if many of these nurses were adequately treated for their pain the temptation to steal drugs would drop drastically.

    Then again, I am a person that feels all drugs should be legalized and I don't even take them. Our society wastes so much money and man-power on the 'war' on drugs.

    I don't really don't see how counting narcs is going to catch chronic thieves. If someone is going to steal drugs on a routine basis, don't you think they would cover their a** and make sure that the count is correct? It doesn't take much creativity to figure out how to steal narcs and keep the count correct. Example: A nurse draws up and dilutes dilauded. They have 10 doses in the syringe. The patient gets 3 doses, the nurse gets 3 doses, 6 doses of administered drug is documented. Patient is adequately medicated, nurse has narcs as well as the correct amt. of drug to waste. Do this to a few patients and one has a lot of medicine at the end of the shift.
    I have also been told that nurses obtain narcotics from PCA pumps (while setting them up). The vial in the machine has to be purged. Someone told me that you just put a needle on the end of the tubing, then insert the needle into a NS vial, purge the pump narc goes into the vial (instead of the trash where it should be going), remove needle from tubing and hook pump to patient.

    Scary, huh?
    Last edit by lifeisbeautiful on Nov 3, '04
  11. by   GLORIAmunchkin72
    What happened to her?
    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 ??
  12. by   ZZTopRN
    Quote from chicoborja
    I, like everyone else in this forum, oppose diversion of narcs from patients but possibly contrary to some in this forum, I don find anything immoral with pocketing wasted meds. It is the equivilant to saying that dumpster diving is unethical. With that said, it should be known that I realize that there is a difference between CNS stimulants/depressants and an old couch. I would like to pose a question though: Which nurse would be more damaging, the exhausted, overworked one with a splitting headache and an inability to concentrate adequately or that same nurse w/o pain but with a slight euphoria as a result of hydrocodone? I don't think there is a clear-cut answer to that question but feel it should be left up to those health professionals that have the ethical means (diversion of waste) to obtain those meds. After all, either way it is that person's license on the line, not yours. Oh, I am aware of the patient's life that is subject to the care of that professional but I must refer you back to my previous question regarding which of the two nurses would be more effective btw the one with the ha and stress or the relaxed euphoric one, like I said b4 I don't think there is a clear-cut answer.
    I was working in a LTC where someone placed 5 drugs in my purse, 3 Darvon, 1 Haldol, 1 liorisel and then the police were called and I was arrested. I find this curious since I had access to Valium, other benzodiazapine, and narcotics. What the heck would I want with a Haldol? The charges were dropped. But I find it curious that the BON placed me on suspension and wants me to renew my license with probation, meaning have my prospective employers acknowledge to the Board I am on probation? What's with this? I acknowledge the seriousness of nurse drug abuse. I've even had my own charge nurse "giving my patient's their Demerol"because I had "such a patient load."

    I am fighting to get my license cleared of this. I think the BON is going overboard, for what reason, I don't know. Probably political. Any thoughts?


  13. by   Cubby
    Quote from morghan
    I want to add a comment here with respect to substance abuse
    among the medical profession(esp alcohol) The national statistics indicate that one out of 4 Americans is either affected by an
    alcoholic or is alcoholic themselves. Given that number, a fairly
    large percentage of physicians and nurses may be impaired. I think it is unfortunate that people are fired, perhaps with the
    exception of use on the job or diverting narcs. Many otherwise
    productive people are lost. A mandatory treatment program
    with follow-up monitoring might be one option. I know... I've been sober 16 years; IF PEOPLE WANT TO BE CLEAN AND SOBER BADLY ENOUGH, FOR THEMSELVES, THEY WILL SUCCEED, ONE DAY AT A TIME. Self-help organizations such as AA and
    NA do help. Maybe a good CEU or training course for management might be how to recognize the impaired nurse/physician. Often people don't know the signs of narcotic dependence /etoh dependence. Just a thought.
    I totally agree with you. I have been sober 4 years now Never liked (pill form) drugs, but it takes all types though huh? Unfortunately I have heard on this board that there are a lot of Nurses who do not see Alcoholism/Drug addiction of any form as a disease. We do not have the will power to better our selves. Pretty sad in this day and age.