Drug Abuse Among Us?? - page 9
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 13, '04Quote from prmenrsthere have been other mods that have pointed out the age of old threads.Please note that the original post is OVER TWO YEARS OLD!!!.
does this mean they should be closed?
i guess i'm missing your point.
Nov 13, '04Perhaps two years ago the person who just responded to this thread was not a member.
Sheesh...if it no longer interests you, don't read it! New members should have a right to reply to threads, no matter how old they are. If it's such a problem, then maybe threads after a certain time frame should drop off.
Nov 13, '04As a recent graduate (18 months ago) I remember a statistic from a class I had about life, relationships, and other misc. stuff that effects nurses lives. It was reported in class that of the average population, 30% (margin of error 2.5%) have an abuse or addiction problem, be it with alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit drug use. Nurses top the charts of all professionals with a whopping 38% with an abuse or addiction problem with the same list of substances. As an adult child of an alcoholic with brothers who are in recovery for their problems, I was often frightened by behavior exhibited by fellow students and now people I work with and what it has or will become.
Nov 16, '04Quote from ElijaWhat difference does it make how old a thread is...as new students, we are still interested in the things affecting the nursing community..regardless of how long ago. The question--is the issue still relevant to nursing today? If so, then we want to view as many points as possible regarding the subject.Originally Posted by prmenrs
Please note that the original post is OVER TWO YEARS OLD!!!.
Nov 18, '04Quote from morghanI just gratefully celebrated 6 years clean and sober yesterday, and it's reassuring to me to know that there are others out there who know: what it used to be like, what happened, and what it's like now. Keep coming back!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.
Nov 18, '04Yes, it does happen to "one of our own"...an RN who was released because of taking opiates (liquid) from patient PCA pumps. They asked her for a urine, which she declined to give. When she was released from the hospital, she would often be found "visiting" patients (while wearing a nurse's uniform)...making "her" rounds sorta speak, until one day she nearly hit one of our security guards in the parking lot with her car as she was trying to flee...(the car was stopped...iv tubing/supplies and syringes were found in the car). Sad...very sad.
Looking back, nurses were able to piece backward her behaviors that should have raised flags earlier.
1. She spent beaucoup amounts of time medicating her patients for pain
2. She would case other nurses' patients for need for pain medication and PCA machine refills
3. Getting very upset with doctors over the phone for not prescribing pain medication for her patients
4. Requesting to come in to work extra, coming in to work, but requesting to leave to go home after working part of her shift
5. Having her co-nurse carry most of the patient load
6. Going out for frequent smoke breaks...way too frequent
Yes folks, it happens to our own too.
Opiates...the worst drug addiction out there.
Nov 18, '04I was reading the various comments regarding narcotic diversion and alcohol abuse among us and couldn't help but add a comment. I think we should recognize addiction for what it is. A progressive and debilitating disease. I don't know too many people who haven't drank too much from time to time whether purposefully or by "accident" not to mention the typical drug experimentation while going through adolescence and most of these people are not labeled alcoholics or addicts. When does a person cross the line? I also know of many respectable professional people who drink and drive afterwards. Aren't they putting themselves and others at risk every single time they engage in this type of behavior? It's almost as if this type of behavior is acceptable until they get busted by law enforcement and then it's, of course, frowned upon. I have observed some nurses treat "drug seeking" patients disrespectfully as well as look at me like I have two heads just because I am treating these patients just as I would any other patient. With respect, honesty and concern. I have no problem talking about the obvious with these patients and I also will dispense narcotics to these patients as per the MD's orders. Why is it so difficult for people to talk about addiction? I think it's about time we stop looking at it as if it is actually a choice these people make. Nobody says to themselves, "hey, I want to be an alcoholic when I grow up",or, "oh boy, I'd like to ruin my life and become a heroin addict" Of course, I firmly believe that with all the help available for addiction in this great country of ours, there certainly is a degree of self-responsibility to take advantage of what is out there. Typically, people don't like to take total responsibility for their actions. In the medical profession where doctors and nurses are held to a higher accountability than the average person, it's not difficult to understand why we would be rather sneaky with regard to narcotic diversion (not to mention it's illegal) but if we honestly look at it, these people would not do this if they truly didn't have a problem requiring help. Alright, I'll stop now...
Nov 18, '04Very well said Nursyswat, and how about just giving people the benefit of the doubt. We do not know what they have been through in their lives. That said - do not enable, but provide support for changing if and when they can. They don't need to be condemned as I am sure deep down that they know what they have become and hate it which further lowers self esteem and keeps the viscious circle going.
Nov 18, '04Last December, on the unit where I worked in a mental health facility, "they" said narcs were missing. We were all drug tested, mine was negative, as were others. However, because "they" couldn't find what they were looking for, they terminated three of us. Indiana is an "at will" state, so there is nothing that can be done except maybe a defamation suit. I guess the narc sheets were "altered" making it appear that narcs were "misssing".........no one saw anything, no one acted differently or "impaired"............so, no one is safe anymore. Beware.
Nov 18, '04I disagree that "euphoria" creates an "impaired" nurse. Some people are on a natural "high" because they are happy, love their jobs, and their own endorphins have kicked in. An induced "euphoria" from drugs, yes, that probably could cause "impairment", but not necessairly.
Nov 18, '04i am a recovering alcoholic. i never would have considered nursing until i was living in a halfway house for addictions and got a part time job at a hospital, i saw what the nurses did and thoroughly enjoyed it. while i was living in assisted facility i went to school and became an lpn. i have been sober for over three years and have no cravings or desire to drink or use drugs, despite the immense stress i have at work. many people want to get clean, but it is a disease and it takes more than want. often we have to reach rock bottom at least once, if not normally more times before we are able to maintain sobriety. it took me three tries, lost my family, wrecked my life and ended up homeless before i got treatment that worked. sometimes it is hard to detect use, especially someone who has been addicted for a long time because they know how to fool people, and are good manipulators. treatment should be given. people should not necessarily be fired because again this is a disease, and should be given the treatment as any other. yes, sometimes people dont admit they have a problem, and that is the first step, but a good CASAC can help, or other professional who is compassionate about their work. i know several nurses i work with who are in recovery, and for a while took part in a peer network for addicted nurses, most of which were found out while in nursing, i came into nursing after getting help, which is kind of backwards, but in doing so i have more ability to help addicted patients and often spend much time doing so. addicts should always be given aggressive options for treatment, sometimes it takes a lot of persuasion to get them to want treatment, but once they get it they stand better chance of staying sober.
Nov 18, '04Quote from TeshieeCheck your state's Nurse Practice Act. Tennessee's states that if you know about a colleagues drus use/abuse and fail to report you are just as liable as they are and the BON can take your license as well. :uhoh21: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. She did go to rehab and got cleaned up but the stigma of a drug addict was too much there and she quit. My vision of her didn't change I still thought she was a good nurse who stumbled along the way. I later found out she had some personal problems and needed some help. What was so bad was her fellow so called friends bad mouthed her stating how they could never do that. I stress to them that you do not know what road she has to ride on. You are not perfect and you will never be the nurse she is. They were shocked when I blurted it out to them because she is human who has a problem. I receive the BRN report and it is amazing most of the RNs who lose their license is for drug abuse. My dilemma is if you see a co-worker abusing drugs what do you do? Do you tell your charge nurse or confront that nurse in private? My psych instructor said no confront that nurse and my ADv Med/Surg inst says yes tell your immediate supervisor! Fortunately I haven't had to do it. But I think I would tell them to either get help take a leave of absence. If they refused then I would have to report them. In the long run you would be helping them and saving a patient from potential harm.