It is very important to take the problem with drugs seriously. Doing so will not only protect oneself but those others who might be affected or become victims of it. At present, the number of people abusing drugs and getting addicted to it is quickly increasing that could put the safety of others in danger. In Vanderbilt University Medical Center, they have had established house rules for problem patients who abuse drugs while in the hospital. The policies are meant to improve safety for other patients and staff.
Vanderbilt is treating more illicit drug users with complex infections, and that means extended stays. Especially if the infection gets to a patient’s heart, they may need IV antibiotics for up to six weeks. And just being in a hospital doesn’t make their addiction go away, even if they’re put on medication to treat their withdrawal symptoms. So, they already require additional surveillance.
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“This isn’t kindergarten, and it’s also not jail,” says Paul Raymond, a nurse team leader. Patients will “cheek” painkiller medication, hiding it in their mouth until the nurse leaves. Then some crush it up and snort it or find a syringe and mix it with tap water to inject it through their IV.
Raymond says others will go outside for a smoke on the nearby VA hospital property and sneak street drugs back in. It was becoming a burden on nurses to police the patients. “I had no misgivings about helping roll this program out. It had to be done,” he says.