Nurses And Substance Use Problems Continues To Soar

While the world is struggling with obvious signs of an illicit drug abuse epidemic, which involves medical professional including nurses. NIH bases most of their findings on health and crime related costs, along with actual surveys submitted by children and adults ranging from 12 years and older.

Statistics

Just to briefly give you an idea of how prevalent illicit drug abuse genuinely is among children age 12 and older. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health includes 2012-2014 various drug trends.

  • 2012 – 82.30% of participants admitted to alcohol use at least once in their lifetime
  • 2014 – 82.10% of participants admitted to alcohol use at least once in their lifetime
  • 2012 – 14.50% of participants admitted to cocaine use at least once in their lifetime
  • 2014 – 14.80% of participants admitted to cocaine use at least once in their lifetime
  • 2012 – 6.20% of participants admitted to using MDMA (Ecstasy) at least once in their lifetime
  • 2014 – 6.60% of participants admitted to using MDMA (Ecstasy) at least once in their lifetime
  • 2012 – 1.80% of participants admitted to using heroin at least once in their lifetime
  • 2014 – 1.80% of participants admitted to using heroin at least once in their lifetime
  • 2012 – 42.80% of participants admitted to using marijuana at least once in their lifetime
  • 2014 – 44.20% of participants admitted to using marijuana at least once in their lifetime
  • 2012 – 4.70% of participants admitted to using methamphetamines at least once in their lifetime
  • 2014 – 4.90% of participants admitted to using methamphetamines at least once in their lifetime

While it is difficult to determine how many times each participant experimented with each drug, it is obvious that the percentages are gradually increasing annually.

Nurses and Illicit Drug use

Many individuals may not even allow the mention of a nurse utilizing illicit drugs to enter their mind, but it is always a possibility that should be considered. When you are a patient in a hospital, you rely on physicians, nurses, orderlies, and certified nurse aids to care for you. If a nurse is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can increase the risks of medication errors.

In 2009, it was reported that 17,085 (0.51%) of the employed nursing populated identified with substance use problems. This number is definitely astonishing, but you must remember that nurses have full access to many scheduled drugs and other narcotics. This free-access makes the temptation more difficult for nurses that have an addiction to opioids and benzodiazepines (Xanax).

It was reported that 12,085 (0.36%) of the employed nurses were enrolled in substance abuse monitoring programs (NCBI). The Alternative-to-Discipline program is responsible for monitoring these nurses and protecting the welfare of patients.

Conclusion

If you are going to be admitted to the hospital, be sure to keep an open mind and eye out for drug impaired nurses. If at any time, you observe a nurse or physician and think they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, be sure to request a private conference with the nursing administrator.