Addiction among Healthcare Workers?


The following program contains mature subject matter viewer discretion is advised Kristen I understand you’re clean now tell us about that and what motivated you well after I went through all that that I did after getting fired I Went to work as a secretary in a doctor’s office. I’d lost my nursing license, so I I That was the only thing I knew how to do medical stuff, so this kind doctor was nice enough He heard my story, and he gave me a job within about a week from starting there I started calling in prescriptions for myself, and they caught me after about three months And I again was arrested charged this time with nine felonies one of them stuck so today I am a felon, and I spent about four months in jail and that was my rock bottom You know they talk about that rock bottom. That was mine I needed that time there to get my head straight to realize I did not want to live this kind of a life anymore So Kristen you’re back right. I’m bad Weiss is back With other addicted nurses yeah I’ve been sober now 12 years And I wrote a book about my story to try and help other people other nurses in particular To understand that this does happen and there is help if it does happen to you Because if it happened to me And I can overcome it so can anybody I want to comment really quickly on the title of your book an unlikely addict because in many ways To the outside world that may seem true but this is so much more common than anyone wants to acknowledge because You have to go to work every single day and be surrounded by these drugs that you’ve essentially become Physiologically dependent upon so we have to redemption stories here, but we all have stories We all know co-workers. We all we all know someone who is struggled and these are good people Who’ve fallen into bad times and? that’s why I’m happy you’re highlighting this because No one wants to talk about it, right What’s your insight now Amy after sort of being on that side of the undercover nature of it? I think what we need to consider is that we need to be able to just talk about it like we’re doing here Let’s talk about it It doesn’t have to be this taboo subject the stigma is you know it is there? But just bringing awareness to it and let’s sit down with Nursing students and hospital workers and say hey you are going to be having these long hours these stressful situations And you’re gonna have access to all of these chemicals what other coping mechanisms and skills Can we teach you so that you don’t end? Up in the situation’s that we can also the two of you I know ended up being arrested But how can we create an environment where people could come forward and say you know what I I’m worried I may be Addicted to these things we have to shift from not being punitive right because I think that’s the fear whether that’s the reality or not in Hospitals right now the way they’re set up is that though they have to report to the DEA say if drugs are Stolen they don’t actually report names they face actually punitive fines if they come forward So they’d much rather just let someone go let them go to another hospital Let them set up shop there and repeat the same problem And I think that’s why there’s these establishments now of physician health programs within organizations where to some extent There is some anonymity where you can go and say hey I’m I’m struggling can you help me and that is supposed to be in theory separate of the? administration of the hospital which sometimes may take a more punitive role because they are trying to protect the welfare of the patients as well Yeah
I wanted to segue into that topic because in this case you Know Amy and Christian although getting your lives back which I applaud you for but it’s not Just these two women who were hurting themselves with their addiction in Other scenarios, there’s an even darker side to drug diversion check it out Back in 2010 Kristin Parker a surgical tech infected at least 18 patients with hepatitis C by stealing liquid painkillers and leaving find dirty syringes in 2016 in surgical tech stole fentanyl syringes injected them into himself And replaced them with saline he had a blood-borne illness and put 2900 patients at risk for HIV and hepatitis He jumped from hospital a hospital across the u.s.. Before being arrested in Denver, Colorado and was then sent to prison in 2012 a New Hampshire Hospital worker caused a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis C By stealing fentanyl syringes these are examples of workers who put patient’s health at risk exemplifying different layers of drug diversion comprised of health care workers who steal drugs from hospitals to feed their own addiction You

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