Nursing Resources for Substance Abuse
Nursing Addiction and Recovery Resources
Substance Use Disorder
Substance use disorder refers to the full range of complaints from abuse to dependency or addiction to alcohol or drugs. Substance use by nurses can cause significant harm or neglect to patients, as well as the nurse, and should immediately be reported to the Board of Nursing.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a problem with drugs or alcohol, we encourage you to use the resources below to learn more about how and where to get help:
Warning Signs: Identifying Substance Use Disorders in Nurses
- Tends to administer more medications, always uses the maximal dose
- Volunteers to give medications
- Demonstrates patterns of excessive wastage and breakage
- Increasing discrepancies in management of controlled substances
- Complaints from patients reporting ineffectiveness of pain medication
- Requests to work evenings, nights, week-ends when there is generally less activity and less supervision
- Exhibits increased anxiety, sudden mood swings, inappropriate anger or crying
- Demonstrates problems interacting with peers and supervisors
- Exhibits forgetfulness or memory lapses
- Makes frequent trips to the bathroom or has other unexplained absences
- Demonstrates patterns of absenteeism, tardiness, and sick calls especially following days off
- Sloppy or illogical documentation
- Shakiness, tremors of the hands
- Slurred speech
- Falling asleep
- Watery eyes, dilated or constricted pupils
- Unsteady gait or staggering
- Runny nose
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Weight loss or gain
- Change in dress or grooming – i.e., suddenly wears long sleeves/lab coats
Self-Test for Drugs or Alcohol Dependence
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you lose time from work due to drinking/drug use?
- Is drinking/drug use making your home life unhappy?
- Do you drink/use drugs because you are shy with other people?
- Is drinking/drug use affecting your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse after drinking/drug use?
- Have you gotten into financial trouble because of drinking/drug use?
- Do you turn to people you normally don't associate with when drinking/using drugs?
- Does your drinking/drug use make you careless of your family's welfare?
- Has your ambition decreased since drinking/drug use?
- Do you crave a drink/drug at a definite time daily?
- Do you want to drink/use drugs the next morning?
- Does your drinking/drug use cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
- Has your efficiency decreased since drinking/using drugs ?
- Is drinking/drug use jeopardizing your job or business?
- Do you drink/use drugs to escape worries or troubles?
- Do you drink/use drugs alone?
- Have you ever had a memory loss as a result of drinking/drug use?
- Has a physician ever treated you for drinking/drug use?
- Do you drink/use drugs to build up your self-confidence?
- Have you ever been to a hospital or institution because of drinking/using drugs?
Scoring: If you answered "yes" to:
1 of the questions, you may have an alcoholism/drug addiction problem.
2 questions, chances are that you have an alcoholism/drug addiction problem.
3 or more, you have the disease of alcoholism/drug addiction.
If you think you may have a problem with alcohol or drugs, call NCADA at (314) 962-3456 and speak with one of their counselors. If treatment is recommended, please be advised that the Georgia Board of Nursing requires assessment and treatment through a participating treatment provider.
Guidelines for Aftercare
The Georgia Board of Nursing requires nurses who are dealing with substance abuse/dependence to be involved in an aftercare group.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Beginning July 1, 2018, all prescribers with a DEA number in Georgia will be required:
- To check the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) before prescribing opiates or cocaine derivatives listed in Schedule II drugs or benzodiazepines.
- The PDMP can help eliminate duplicative prescribing and overprescribing of controlled substances and provide a prescriber or pharmacist with critical information regarding a patient’s controlled substance prescription history and protect patients at risk of abuse.
Appriss – PMP Aware is the data analytics system that Georgia uses for its PDMP.
- They have prepared a “How To” video and written instructions to assist you with using the PDMP. The information will help you log in, reset your password and navigate the system.
- We encourage you to watch the video (click here for video), review the instructions and log in and search patient records to become familiar with the PDMP before July 1, 2018.
If you need additional help or if you have questions regarding the Georgia PDMP, please call 404-463-0772 or send an email to [email protected].
When to Report
How To Report
The Georgia Board of Nursing is charged to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public and licensed professionals through early recognition and intervention for nurses who may abuse drugs and/or alcohol, or be otherwise chemically dependent.
To that end, this packet is available for nurses who have:
1) Abused or become chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol;
2) Tested positive (without a valid prescription) on a drug screen for alcohol and/or any drug contained in Schedule I through Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act;
3) Completed or enrolled in substance abuse treatment (alcohol, illegal drugs/substances and prescription drugs [with or without a prescription]); or
4) Diverted medications from patients or workplace.
Please download the self-report packet, review and follow all instructions and submit your information to the Board.
Reporting a Nurse:
Any person who has reasonable cause to suspect misconduct or incapacity of a licensee or who has reasonable cause to suspect the person is in violation of the Nurse Practice Act should report relevant facts to the Board.
Please view the Nurse Practice Act (link to Georgia Code) and applicable Board rules.
The Board has no regulatory authority over employment issues, rudeness to peers, co-worker disputes, personality conflicts, absenteeism, tardiness, refusal of assignment or labor management disputes such as work schedules/wages and termination.