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Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription Drug Abuse Among Nurses in America

Addiction is a condition which can occur in almost anyone.  The way in which it develops can vary in many different ways too.  The reality is that addiction can affect even professionals who see the effects of drugs and alcohol every single day.  For instance, the rates of prescription drug abuse among nurses (which is something that they deal with pretty much every day while passing them out to patients) is going up.

This issue of prescription drug abuse among nurses is not a new one by any means, and it has been happening for several years now.  It can arise through various different circumstances.  Such nurses often never even have the idea that they could potentially become addicted to these drugs.  Then they may get injured or ailed with a painful condition which requires them to take pain medication.  From there, if not monitored extremely carefully, a physical dependence and addiction can be quick to develop.  A person may all of a sudden find themselves experiencing withdrawal symptoms after having used these medications for a short period of time.

The situation can get worse.  Next up they may begin to steal pills from their own hospital or another medical facility of employment.  This is a practice which is called “healthcare drug diversion.”  They can then begin to take the pills before work, and after they are out, and sometimes even during.  Often these individuals will try to avoid taking them at work to better mask the situation that is happening.  They can disguise their problem during work hours, though there are signs that can be seen if looked out for.  A multitude variance of behaviors can be spotted within addicts.

The Stigma of Healthcare Practitioners Seeking Help

There is often a large barrier to nurses seeking help with their addictions, which is the fact that they often fear the consequences of admitting to anyone that they even have a problem.  A person who is found to have been stealing drugs from a hospital, or struggling with an addiction of some kind, tend to fear for their employment, as well as their healthcare licensing.  But, when it comes to addiction, punitive efforts only ever go so far.  They do nothing toward the resolution of the addiction.

There needs to be a paradigm shift in this avenue so that these individuals can seek help for prescription drug abuse when they need it.  For instance, in Indiana, if healthcare professionals divulge their addiction, as well as complete treatment, they are able to dispel the criminal charges, as well as maintain their licensing too.

The Detrimental Consequences of Nurses and Prescription Drug Abuse

A multitude of different negative ramifications can result from nurses falling into the grips of opiate addiction.  Of course, there are the immediate negative consequences to their health and life, as well as to their family and work environment.  But one of the largest issues by far appears within their work environment.  These men and women are the ones responsible for assisting in the healthcare and recovery of many patients under the health care facilities’ charge.  And when such nurses are under the influence of opiates painkillers, they will typically be less aware of their surroundings and different factors, which can make them liable to make dangerous or even deadly mistakes.  For instance, giving a patient the wrong medication, which could be very dangerous to them.  Or they could be extremely forgetful and forget to give patients’ medications, forget treatment appointments, mix up medical records or charts, or neglect important actions and responsibilities.

An article from Modern Medicine states, “The American Nurses Association (ANA) says approximately 10% of nurses are dependent on drugs, making the incidence of drug abuse and addiction among nurses consistent with that of the U.S. population. With nearly 3 million RNs employed in the U.S., that means almost 300,000 RNs may be substance abusers; put another way, if you work with 10 nurses, one of them is likely to be struggling with addiction.”  The issue is that statistics can also be skewed due to a multitude of facilities not reporting accurate or any numbers of these situations.  This makes it so that the numbers very well may be much higher than they first appear.

When Searching For Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment

Once deciding to overcome a drug or alcohol addiction, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to go next or to know what the next step is.  There are a multitude of treatment centers out there that can help a person who is struggling with an addiction, and so a person may be overwhelmed as far as to which one to choose, or which one is best.  But we are here to help with precisely that.  Our staff is knowledgeable and familiar with various types of treatment and treatment centers across the country, and we can help find you or your loved one the best fit in a center.  Take the first steps to break free of the chains of addiction and give us a call today.

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