Two former nurses, Amie and Kristin have come to The Doctors to share their story how they became addicted to drugs while on the job. The former healthcare workers warn of the dangers they faced being surrounded by drugs while on the job.
Amie says her drug of choice was opiate pain medications. She says her addiction began following an injury. Amie would either take pills from patients or take pills that were not used by patients. She says her addiction got so bad, that she needed pills to get out of bed at times. After it was discovered that she was calling in prescriptions under a doctor's name she was put in jail. "That was my rock bottom," she says. She lost her job after her nursing license was placed on probation.
Kristin also preferred taking opiates and diverted drugs while on the job. She says she began taking drugs after having surgery. She tells us she would take pills that would have been otherwise discarded by the hospital. She says she would steal meds just minutes after arriving at work. After being caught and confessing, she was charged with 26 felonies. She later got another job in a doctor's office and began stealing drugs again. She was charged with 9 felonies and spent 4 months behind bars.
Kristin, who has been sober for the past 12 years, now works to help other addicted nurses. She also wrote a book, "An Unlikely Addict," in hopes of shedding light on this problem and show how there is a help available.
Amie adds, "We need to be able to just talk about [drug diversion]... it doesn't have to be this taboo subject... let's sit down with nursing students and hospital workers and say, 'Hey, you're are going to be having these long hours and stressful situations and you're going to be having access to all of these chemicals. What are the coping skills and mechanisms we can teach you, so you don't end up in the situation we have.'"
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please call the confidential and free National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit their website.