Studies in the Unites States have shown that 10%-15% of healthcare professionals will misuse substances during their lifetime, and rates of prescription drug abuse and addiction are five times higher among physicians than in the general population*.

If you suspect a loved may be suffering from this, there is help, and there is hope.

How can you help?

Nurses or pharmacists actively abusing substances are three times more likely to admit their addiction when they are in a state with an Alternative to Discipline Program like IPRP. Programs like IPRP help these impaired professionals walk through a process of hope, healing, accountability, and sustained wellness. When a healthcare professional self-admits, it can be done confidentially as long as they remain compliant and complete the program. A professional’s job is integral to a family’s livelihood and structure, so it is our goal to help assist the impaired provider as quickly as we can. While they participate in the program, they can continue with the career they need, love, and have worked hard to achieve.

*Harvard Review of Psychiatry, Current Opinion in Psychiatry, Journal of Clinical Anesthesia, and The American Journal on Addictions.

Studies show that when a healthcare professional with a substance abuse disorder participates in a program like IPRP, there is an 80% success rate and a decreased chance of relapse.

How can you help?

We understand that it may be difficult to approach a loved one about their alcohol or substance use; however, the consequences of not talking about it may be far worse than the alternative. By encouraging your loved one to self-admit into the IPRP monitoring program, you may help change their life and likely save their career.  Studies show that when a healthcare professional with a substance use disorder participates in a program like IPRP, there is an 80% success rate and a decreased chance of relapse.

Remember, if your family member voluntarily admits themselves into a program, they can not only work to save their current job but also their career. They will be able to complete the program with confidentiality and will be able to continue working while they seek treatment. If they do not admit themselves and are discovered to be impaired, they will be reported to the board of nursing and will likely receive discipline on their license.  

The disease of addiction is very powerful and even more so for healthcare professionals because of the access to medications, high stress environments, and knowledge of how to use the medications. But with IPRP, there is hope!

If you would like more information about IPRP or the self-admitting process, please contact us today.

If you question whether or not you or a loved one may be addicted to or abusing substances, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with these possible indicators of an impaired provider. These are not meant to diagnose but may serve as preliminary warning signs that there is a problem with substance use.

  • Sudden change in attitude or personality
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of motivation, lethargy or depression
  • Quick changes in weight
  • Change in work habits, going in early or staying late
  • Financial complications
  • Relationship problems
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Isolation

Common Myths & Truths

Myth: Impaired healthcare professionals abuse street drugs.

Truth: Many impaired providers use everyday medications encountered in the workplace, as well as common street drugs. The problem may begin by simply taking a patient’s medication for a headache or back pain or to cope during a stressful shift. An impaired provider may substitute saline for injectable medications such as Demerol, morphine sulfate, and codeine, or dilute liquid medications after consuming some of it. Legal drugs are as harmful as illegal drugs.

Source: American Nurse Today

Myth: Impaired healthcare professionals have a long history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Truth: Although many impaired providers have a history of long-term drug or alcohol abuse, a recent stressful life event such as a divorce, accident, or illness can lead to drug abuse as a maladaptive coping mechanism.

 Source: American Nurse Today

Myth: Impaired healthcare professionals are easy to recognize.

Truth: There are specific signs and symptoms of an impaired provider, but the healthcare professional may take extra precautions to avoid detection.

 Source: American Nurse Today

Myth: Drug addiction is voluntary.

Truth: Drug addiction is a compulsive behavior affecting the brain. It may be the result of an emotional or abusive family situation, poor choices, loss of support systems, excuse for behaviors, seeking an adrenaline rush, family history of addiction, enabling behavior, unstable lifestyle, denial, or other factors. While the initial act may be voluntary, cessation of a full-blown addiction is not. 

 Source: American Nurse Today

Myth: Combining drugs is not harmful.

Truth: Combining drugs can lead to disastrous consequences such as permanent physical impairment or death.

Source: American Nurse Today

Myth: Addicts cannot recover and only need treatment for a couple of weeks.

Truth: Short-term in-patient programs should be at least 21 days. It is important to have follow-up supervision for physical and emotional support. The length of treatment and the willingness of the impaired provider are the best predictors for success. Health care professionals who remain in treatment for at least a year are twice as likely to maintain sobriety, but the efforts in recovery will last a lifetime. Impaired providers can make a complete recovery if given the proper support/opportunity, and they have a desire to recover.

 Source: American Nurse Today

Myth: Addicts have to want treatment and can’t be forced into it.

Truth: In most cases, the impaired provider resists entering a treatment program. The main reasons for entering treatment are a court order and/or peer, management, family member encouragement or mandate.

Source: American Nurse Today

Myth: Alcoholics can sober up quickly.

Truth: It takes about three hours, depending on the person’s weight, to sober up.  Reporting to work after attending a party and consuming alcohol is a recipe for disaster.

 Source: American Nurse Today

Myth: Beer doesn’t have as much alcohol as hard liquor.

Truth: A 12-ounce bottle of beer has the same amount of alcohol as a shot of 80% proof liquor or 5 ounces of wine.

 Source: American Nurse Today

Indiana Professionals Recovery Program
If you suspect a co-worker is impaired or you are struggling
with substance use disorder, reach out today.