Substance Abuse: Through the Eyes of a Nurse

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In first talking about substance use, abuse and addiction as it relates to the Nursing profession it is necessary to understand the aspect of addiction. Drug use is a broad idea that refers to the use of any chemical substance rather legal or illegal. This topic includes prescription drugs, street drugs, herbal supplements, and the like. The term Drug abuse is defined as “the use of a substance or substances in such a way that it leads to measurable personal, interpersonal, or social consequences” (Faupel, C., E., Horowitz, A., M., & Weaver, G., S., 2010, p.20). Drug addiction is then regarded as “a compulsive use of chemicals (drugs or alcohol) and the inability to stop using them despite all the problems caused by their use” (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2011, p.1). “The word addiction is often used as an umbrella term to describe a group of problems that can be broken out into drug addiction, alcoholism, substance use disorder and chemical dependence”(National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2011, p.5).
Most people are unaware of how prevalent addiction has become and even fewer are aware of the number of nurses that are addicts, why and how they acquired this disease, , the cost to their profession as well as steps toward prevention that can be taken. This of course leads to the discussion of drugs and their use, abuse and addiction in the esteemed profession of Nursing. “The American Nurses Association (ANA) says approximately ten percent of nurses are dependent on drugs, making the incidence of drug abuse and addiction among nurses consistent with that of the U.S. population” (Copp, M.,A.,B., 2009, p.1). “Although nurses aren't at a higher increase risk than the public sector, their overall pattern o...

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