INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- More than 400 nurses are currently enrolled in a drug treatment program designed specifically for their profession and more than 75 are are waiting to get in to the program.
The Indiana State Nurses Assistance Program helps Hoosier nurses dealing with drug addiction. Program director, Chuck Lindquist, said each month 20-25 new nurses apply to join to program.
Earlier this week an IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital nurse was arrested on charges of possession and theft for allegedly stealing drugs from the hospitals automated dispensing machine. Kadee Klafka was flagged for taking an "unusually high" amount of fentanyl from the machine. Last month, Alisha Sue was arrested for drug possession and theft. Court records show she was flagged three times for the amount of medications she took from the machine.
Lindquist said the states growing heroin epidemic plays a factor in nurses becoming addicted to drugs and stealing from the hospitals where they work.
"I think being in the nursing profession makes them at a higher risk just because of the high stress of nursing, the easy access to controlled substances," he said.
Lindquist said his hope is that more nurses consider getting help before it's too late and ignore the stigma that comes with seeking it.
IU Health Ball Memorial said they are constantly working to improve how they monitor situations like these.
Some signs to look out for include:
- Changes in appearance or attitude
- Excessive sick time
- Long breaks or lunch hours
- Volunteering to be the medication nurse
- Frequently reporting spills or waste
- An excessive number of mistakes or decrease in job performance
If you are a nurse who needs help, or know someone who might, call ISNAP at (317) 295-9862 or (800) 638-6623. Click here for more on the program.