A study published by MedPage Today recently discussed how nurses are, unfortunately, not immune to developing substance abuse dependencies. Study authors discovered that as much as 3% of the over 4 million nurses in the U.S. develop such an addiction.
There are a few different options that nurses have at their disposal for getting help before a drug problem spirals out of control. The latest research shows that their participation in these alternative-to-discipline programs has gone down in recent years, though. This means that many nurses are ending up facing criminal charges with the prospect of losing the professional licenses that allow them to work in their profession at record numbers.
What are alternative-to-discipline programs?
These are anonymous substance abuse programs that nurses can enroll at the earliest stage of addiction in hopes of it affecting their work, leading to criminal charges and a nursing licensing board reprimand.
Why is enrollment in these drug treatment programs so low?
Analysts suspect that participants’ reduction in participation (which has decreased to single digits in some states) is attributable, in part, to cost concerns. These programs aren’t cheap. Also, nurses often worry about how others (including hospital leadership) will perceive them if they reach out for help,
Many nurses allow the stigma and price to get in their way of getting the treatment that they need for their substance abuse problems early on, which makes them vulnerable to getting charged with drug crimes and other ones down the road. Your nursing career is likely hanging in the balance if you’re facing drug charges. You’ll want to fight for your license and your future.