Managing alcohol and drug abuse in the nursing profession


  • Peter G. Booth BSc MPsychol ABPsS

    1. Top Grade Clinical Psychologist (Substance Abuse), Liverpool Health Authority, Windsor Clinic, Rainhill Hospital, Prescot, Merseyside L35 4PQ
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Annual increases in indices which reflect the extent of alcohol and drug abuse in society result in a considerable cost to industry. Nurses as a professional group have not generally been identified as having a significantly high incidence of staff with problems of alcohol or drug abuse, although there is some evidence that they are more likely than other workers to attend treatment agencies. The role of nurse management in the early recognition and handling of problems can be vital and training material has been developed to encourage appropriate involvement. A brief description and preliminary evaluation of management training is given. Guidelines and policies which clarify the roles of management, trade unions, occupational health and specialist treatment agencies should facilitate the rehabilitation of the nurse with a drink or drug problem and, in doing so, have potential economic as well as personal benefit to the parties involved.