Anyone who works in the medical field, especially nurses are surrounded by medications pretty much daily. Most health care workers who deal with patients have vast knowledge of medications. They understand how they work, why they work and what the exact effects of the meds are. Because of that knowledge, a growing number of doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, pharmacists, and even in-home caretakers fall victim to addiction. It is common for healthcare workers, like nurses to be subject to extremely stressful situations on the job, and turn to alcohol or drugs to cope. Many times they feel just because they hold a high level of knowledge on the medications, that they can handle it and won’t be overpowered by addiction.
Health care workers who suffer from addiction have to work very hard at their recovery if they want to work in a hospital setting because they are around these highly addictive medications every time they go to work. Here are the Top 5 medications being abused in hospital settings:
- Ativan (Lorazepam)–
A Benzodiazepine used to help alleviate anxiety and for panic disorders. It is used for anxiety, insomnia and as an adjunct with anesthesia. It can come in pill or IV form.
- Demerol (Pethidine)-
Demerol is an opiate narcotic used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. It may also be used before and during surgery or other procedures. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain. It can come in pill form or IV.
- Dilaudid Hydromorphone-
Another opioid medication used to help relieve moderate to severe pain. Both Demerol and Dilaudid are pain medications that come in both pill form as well as IV form. Many health care workers abuse the IV form of these medications. They are used often in the hospital setting.
- Diprovan (Propofol)-
A sedative, short-acting medication that help you relax before and during general anesthesia for surgery or other medical procedures. Puts a person in a decreased level of consciousness and drug-induced amnesia. Propofol is also commonly used in veterinary medicine. It is given by IV.
Fentanyl is another opiate often used when your other pain medicines no longer work. It is very commonly used by patients on their last breath of life or terminally ill cancer patients. Fentanyl is available as a skin patch, lozenge, pills, shots, a film that dissolves in your mouth, nasal spray, or by IV. Fentanyl is the most potent of the opiate medications. Because of the high potency of Fentanyl, it has the highest potential of overdose.
Other common forms of opiate medications are Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin are oral narcotics that are abused the most. They are all used to alleviate pain. Many times, they are abused because of the euphoric effect they produce. One serious problem, besides its potential for addiction is that Vicodin and Percocet also have Tylenol in them. High doses of Tylenol can damage the liver, so when someone abuses pain medications with Tylenol in them, there is lasting effects on the liver.
Benzodiazepines are commonly used for their ability to help alleviate anxiety and for panic attacks. Xanax and Klonopin are also very frequently abused.
Reference Sources: Drugs.com, webmd.com, Encyclopedia of Nursing Research (2006), Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, Meredith Wallace; pages 582-585