Working in a hospital environment proves both rewarding and exciting. However, countless hours on your feet, grueling shifts and lifting heavy patients or hospital equipment may cause pain among nurses throughout the United States.
An increase in opioid addiction by U.S. citizens includes the use by hundreds of nurses. With direct access and chronic pain, many nurses choose to consume various hospital-grade substances. While addicted nurses pose a threat to their own safety, the dangers inflicted on children and adult patients may be life-threatening.
Florida nurse addiction on the rise
Orlando’s WFTV9 reported that hospitals placed over 100 registered nurses or nursing assistants whom used or sold drugs on emergency restriction and suspension in 2017 in Florida.
In March, a judge stripped the license of a Spring Hill registered nurse named Kerrie Florence Katz, following an accusation of her consistent stealing of fentanyl. A police officer responded to a rollover crash caused by the nurse, who was driving home from a shift at a rehabilitation center in Spring Hill.
The officer noted the former nurse’s slurred words and believed she showed signs of intoxication of a narcotic. Further investigations occurred, and reported instances of her abnormal behavior, her confusion and stolen controlled medications led to her arrest.
A national crisis
This increased addiction swallows more than Florida. USA Today reported that the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration “indicated that an average of 103,000 doctors, nurses, medical technicians and health care aides a year were abusing or dependent on illicit drugs.”
In May, the state of Florida joined other states to file a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Big Pharma which claimed the pharmaceutical companies knew or should have known of the addictive effects of opioids.
Substance abuse and criminal offenses
Using substances in the workplace carries significant criminal charges. Should you harm a patient while under the influence of narcotics, you may be found negligent, convicted of manslaughter and have your license revoked.
Not engaging in the use of opioids and controlled substances in hospitals proves beneficial for both patients, their families and nursing staff. With an increase in use, more regulatory action and convictions may lead to a decrease in addicted individuals.