Do I report a nurse with a substance abuse problem?

One of the first things you may want to ask yourself when you come down with a nurse abuse or substance abuse problem is, “Does this patient have a long-term health condition?” If the answer to this question is “yes,” then you have a definite reason to suspect that the nurse in question is engaged in activities that are detrimental to his or her health. You also may want to ask whether or not this person is a candidate for dual diagnosis treatment? Of course, there may be instances when a nurse does not display signs of a substance abuse problem, but there are enough red flags in their personality that should give you cause for concern. For instance, if the patient is suffering from depression and is also withdrawing from friends and family, it would be considered extremely uncommon for a nurse to be exhibiting these symptoms. Still, if the withdrawal symptoms persist despite treatment, it is a good sign that the patient may be suffering from another illness.

Another thing that you need to ask yourself when you suspect a nurse’s abuse is, “Is this abuse widespread in my hospital’s community?” This is important because you want to make sure that the abuse is not isolated to a specific hospital or team within your system. Remember, there are several people who work in a nursing home or other medical facility. For instance, it would not be abnormal for abuse to occur in a nursing home with ten units away from another nursing home unit. Unfortunately, most organizations tend to focus their resources on the local area where abuse occurs, without paying much attention to the national scope.

There are many reasons why a nurse may exhibit the above symptoms. In the case of substance abuse, patients may try to conceal their addiction in order to avoid treatment. Others may use substances as a way to self medicate for discomfort or pain. Still others may simply seek ways to numb their feelings. Regardless of the reason, it is essential that you become aware of the signs so that you can ensure your health and safety of your patients.

When a nurse suspects that a patient may be abusing a substance, they should make it clear to the patient that they are aware of their situation. If you suspect a nurse is abusing drugs, inform the nurse’s supervisor or physician. The abuse must be reported in order to protect the nurse, the patient, and the facility from further legal or liability issues. In addition to making sure the doctor is aware of the situation, the nurse should advise the facility of the specifics as soon as possible.

In some instances, abuse reporting comes into play when a nurse is facing legal action from a patient or other individuals. When a nurse suspects abuse is occurring, they should consult with their attorney about whether or not they have a case. It is imperative that a nurse is aware of all of the requirements that go along with reporting abuse to the proper authorities. In some situations, abuse reporting requires the authorization of a physician, which is not always granted.

Nursing is a profession that requires a great deal of dedication and caring. Whether you work in a doctor’s office, a hospital, or any other medical facility, the job puts a tremendous amount of stress on the individuals who perform their duties. If you have concerns that a nurse is abusing a substance, it is important that you report this to the appropriate authorities. Regardless of the circumstances that lead you to believe a nurse is abusing a patient, it is important that you act quickly and responsibly to make sure the abuse does not continue.

Why Generic OxyContin Can Be More Dangerous Than The Original Medication

the opioid epidemic When a medication becomes available in generic form the average consumer is generally happy. Generic medications are generally less expensive than the original medications while providing the same relief. In many cases, insurance companies will cover the entire cost of a medication when it is a generic, making using these medications even more beneficial to the patient. However, in the case of OxyContin, the generic medication is actually causing more problems.

A Look At Generic Drugs

Many people believe that generic medications are not equal in strength to the name brand medications. It is a common misnomer that generics are not as strong and do not provide as effective treatment as the name brand of the same drug. With this in mind, when a person with a pain medication addiction is given generic medication, they often take more than they normally take of the name brand pills. Additionally, many people who obtain generic medications do not realize that the generics can have lower tolerances from the manufacturer – which means the amount of the medication per pill could fluctuate more with a generic.  Because of this, many people not only take additional pills when they see it is a generic, they may be taking stronger pills than they realize. As a result, a person trying to fight an opiate addiction might either become hyper-addicted to the medications because they have unknowingly increased the dose they are taking, or worse case scenario they could find themselves in an overdose situation.

Opiates Now Leading Cause Of Overdose Deaths In United States

The Center for Disease Control, CDC, has now declared opiate addiction as the leading cause for overdose related deaths in the United States. Over 75 percent of these overdoses occur with prescription pain killers, with the remaining deaths attributed to heroin. This is a very important fact because historically opiate related overdoses were almost always attributed to heroin and heroin based products found on the black market.
Some shocking statistics about the opioid epidemic in America

Some shocking statistics about the opioid epidemic in America

In the past, pain medications were very hard to obtain. If the medication had any potential for abuse, doctors were very leery about offering any type of prescription, even for short term use. However, their over-cautious behaviors were actually hurting people in need. Patients with end-stage diseases and chronic pain issues simply were not being given the assistance they needed to manage their pain at a time they needed it the most. So the rules began to change. Sadly, the change went to the other extreme, and doctors began giving stronger pain medications for almost any type of injury or condition. Unfortunately, many were and are still being given pain medication prescriptions without fully disclosing the effects or considering the length of time the prescription is for. In many cases doctors do not tell their patients that opiate based medications can become physically addictive in as little as 10 days and emotionally addictive in as little as a week. Now the country is facing a serious problem. Many people have become addicted to these medications and the need to help them recover from the addiction is strong. Breaking away from the addiction cycle can be difficult, especially when the drug of choice has literally altered the chemical structure of your brain to become physically and emotionally dependent on the drug.

You Can Break Your Addiction To An Opiate 

Thankfully, anyone who has found themselves addicted to a pain medication can overcome their addiction and enter into recovery. With the use of a quality addiction recovery center, anyone addicted to pain medications can learn to live a life without them. Yes, it is possible, no matter how hard it is to believe, that you can overcome addiction to OxyContin. It does not matter if you use a name brand oxycodone product, or if it is a generic. It does not matter if it is morphine or fentanyl. You can overcome your addiction with the help of a drug rehab program. You can learn how manage your addiction as well as the health conditions that caused you to turn to pain meds in the first place. You can address the mental and emotional issues associated with addiction and how to overcome these problems. You can wake up in the morning and know that you will be free from seeking out pain medications.

Rehabilitation Centers Are Necessary To Reach The Recovery Stage

Many people who are suffering from an addiction believe that a drug rehabilitation center is not necessary for them to stop using the drug. They think they can go “cold turkey” or slowly wean themselves off the drug. In reality, these are just excuses being made to themselves because they are afraid of entering drug rehab. The key to overcoming any addiction is detox monitored by a professional, coupled with a customized and well prepared plan for long-term recovery. There is no reason to be afraid. Unlike in the past, rehab is now designed to be a place that is comforting and compassionate. It is about helping and giving support. It is about learning and living. A quality rehabilitation center will even have a dedicated substance abuse counselor appointed to each patient to ensure that they feel safe and secure the entire time they are in rehab.

Detox Can Be Challenging

The physical withdrawals from any opiate based drug are very demanding on the body. It is during this stage that many people falter on their road to recovery unless they have the support they need from a counselor and good rehabilitation program. Drug rehab centers have everything in place to help their patients address every potential issue during the detox portion of their recovery. They will be there for you to help you through the physical and emotional withdrawal from the drug and be there to support and encourage you through the entire process. Once you have detoxed from the drug, your counselor will be there with you to help you to learn how to live again drug free. They will help you learn how to be healthy physically and emotionally. They will teach you everything you need to know about living drug-free and how to enjoy your new found freedom. Drug rehabilitation does not have to be scary. In fact, it should be something that you embrace closely. When you enter into recovery you no longer have to look back at what happened in your life. Recovery gives you the ability to look forward at what life has to offer.

Is Addiction a Disease?

Is Addiction a Disease

The Two Camps

The debate about whether or not addiction should be classified as a disease has been a long one. Those in both camps have a sound basis for their position, with some who say that calling addiction a disease just makes it more difficult to treat as it takes away the accountability of the person addicted. The other side argues that understanding addiction as a disease makes it easier for those needing help to seek treatment because it can help to eliminate the walls of accusation and shame that are often associated with addiction. A disease is defined as “disorder of structure of function” that impairs or restricts normal functioning, often displayed by specific symptoms and signs. However you interpret addiction, all agree that the most important thing is that those who need it, seek and receive help. At the end of the day, calling addiction a disease is simply a matter of semantics. But it is clear that substance abuse can be overcome with the right combination mindset, resources, and staying the course.

The Argument Against Defining Addiction as a Disease

Those who are against the definition believe that defining addiction as a disease makes treatment more difficult. For some — even among those struggling — think that classifying addiction as a disease leaves one with a lack of accountability. Those arguing against the classification see the issue as that of personal choice. In most of the cases of addiction, a person makes a choice to start using drugs or alcohol which can lead to abuse. Some suggest that referring to those recovering from substance abuse as “patients” takes away their ownership of the problem and creates a clinical environment for treatment that doesn’t take personal responsibility for one’s role in the abuse into account. With this type of mentality, calling addiction a disease may be a misnomer. Cancer, diabetes, and other chronic disease seem to happen to people in spite of their personal choices, while addiction has a more tangible cause — drug or alcohol use. However, while cancer and diabetes may not have direct, obvious causes, it’s important to be aware of the fact, like addiction, there were factors may have contributed to their development, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors and lifestyle choices. Those who hold to this argument believe that classifying addiction as a disease can be detrimental to the treatment process for some people and can create a sense of hopelessness at the hands of a medical label. It’s helpful to recognize the various factors that can be involved in substance abuse, including emotional trauma, physical dependence and family history such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For successful long-term recovery, it’s important to fully understand the wide range of symptoms and issues that can be associated with substance abuse.

The Argument For Defining Addiction as a Disease

Those who argue for classifying addiction as a disease believe that making this distinction make treating those struggling easier. While debate continues in the medical community on whether or not addiction is a disease, many do agree that there is often a genetic predisposition for substance abuse. Couple that with the mental and physical side effects of substance abuse and  addiction then meets many of the requirements for classification as a disease. Although a person may “choose” to use drugs or alcohol, becoming dependent on these substances is often beyond a person’s ability to control it.  Then there are those who develop a substance abuse disorder after being prescribed opioid painkillers following a surgery or injury. There are others who have experienced a traumatic life event that elevates a social drinker into a  binge drinker and beyond. While some people have no problem maintaining a balanced relationship with alcohol or other substances, some are never able to use them in moderation, either because of genetics or willpower. For many hoping to help those who struggle with abuse, looking at addiction as a disease allows the medical and lay communities to view the issue through a compassionate lens for treatment. This type of mindset can open doors to recovery for some who might otherwise be to shamed or embarrassed to seek treatment. Instead of taking away personal accountability, some argue that understanding addiction as a disease helps to motivate change, similar to a healthy lifestyle change or a prescribed medical treatment following the diagnosis of an illness. They also argue that treating addiction as a disease can highlight the medical attention that is often critical to recovery. Completing a full continuum of care, from medical detox to inpatient and outpatient programs, can help many stay on track while learning new coping methods. Because a substance abuse disorder rarely manifests on its own accord, treating it as a disease can help one to identify triggers and root causes such as co-occurring mental disorders and genetic predispositions. Drug and alcohol rehab programs help to teach people how to manage difficult life events and challenges without turning to drug substances or alcohol, thus creating a path toward long-term healing.

Getting Help Is Key

Despite the argument of “disease or choice” among medical professionals, determining if classifying addiction as a disease makes treatment harder or easier ultimately depends on the individual. Because recovery is a personal journey, it is not a surprise that different perspectives would resonate with different people. Understanding addiction as a disease may be a motivator for treatment for some, while it may seem limiting to others. Regardless of a person’s take on it, recognizing that there is a problem and finding help to address it are the most important considerations. No matter the “disease” a person is struggling with, both sides agree on one thing: that treatment is most successful when a person takes responsibility, but also understands their family history and medical inclinations that brought it about. This in no more true than for those struggling with substance abuse.

web statistics