1. Sinuk, Paul MS, NP
  2. Taylor, Amy

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My problem with "Deception" (Reflections, February) is that the addicted nurse's hospital was more focused on firing her than helping her. This is common in hospitals, where coworkers often ignore the problem and won't confront colleagues or encourage them to get professional help.


Many U.S. nursing boards use punitive means to deal with addicted nurses. This is why many nurses fail to ask for help when confronted about a drug or alcohol problem and why many coworkers fail to report them. The most appropriate way to deal with addicted nurses is to offer them help and to monitor them as they recover.


I too am a nurse who is an addict. After five years in recovery, I still can't talk to my old friends, not because I don't realize how my problem affected those around me, but because I'm humiliated.


I became addicted to prescription pain medications after a series of operations. I found that the line between physical pain and emotional pain is essentially nonexistent in people like me. I was not ready to admit to myself that I was addicted, so how could I admit it to others? But of course my friends knew. I could feel their disapproval. I couldn't talk to them. Even now, I can't call them. How can I apologize and let them know that I wanted to hurt only myself?