The rate of prescription drug abuse in the health care industry in North America is alarming, and it continues to increase. There are many possible reasons why workers in the health care industry abuse prescription drugs. Easy access is often given as a common reason, because doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals have easy access to prescription drugs that are commonly abused. Some medical professionals use prescription drugs for legitimate reasons and then end up addicted, so they start stealing prescription drugs from patients or from the available medical supplies in order to feed their addiction. There have been cases in Canada and the USA where patients in severe pain were neglected and were not properly medicated for the pain because a medical professional siphoned off the real drugs and replaced them with inactive substances.
What can be done to lower the rate of prescription drug abuse in the health care industry though? Medical professionals who are caught stealing prescription drugs are often given a very light sentence and are typically allowed to keep their jobs, especially in the USA. This is true even if a patient suffered due to the actions of the health care worker. Restrictions on the ability to access drugs with a high addiction potential may be added for a year or two, and often the medical professional is required to seek substance abuse treatment. If you or a loved one has a problem with prescription drug abuse help is available. Taking this first step before you divert drugs or get in deeper could prevent you from being arrested, fired, or even barred from the health care industry.