Nurses work crazy shifts and can have trouble sleeping. In addition, we are being bombarded with information and get interrupted approximately every 5 minutes.
It would make sense that a nurse would go to her physician and say, “I’m having trouble focusing.” The physician prescribes Adderall and, at first, it’s amazing. You not only find that you suddenly have all this energy and are extremely focused, but you’re also losing weight as an added benefit!
Then nurses start thinking, “Oh, how could I have ever gone on without this?” Make no mistake, Adderall is an amphetamine, a controlled substance and is addictive. Some nursing students even get addicted to Adderall which they use to help them study.
If you participate in a peer assistance or substance abuse program, note that these programs are abstinence-based meaning, you will have to get off of the controlled substance it in order to participate.
It can be difficult for a nurse who has taken Adderall for a long period of time to get off that medication. The nurse may feel like they can’t focus as well and feel like they need it for their job. But, when asked to come off it, some nurses choose Adderall over their license.
In an article published by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing, “The Epidemic of Controlled Dangerous Substance Abuse,” “Adderall has been called the most widely abused prescription drug in America.” For full article, click here.
The Louisiana Board questioned whether nurses and nursing students should be allowed to practice while taking controlled dangerous substances which includes Adderall. The article goes on to state that up to 25% of college students have abused amphetamines.
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, an estimated 4 to 5% of adults have ADHD and there are non-controlled substances which work for nearly all these patients.
“We believe that a professional who wishes to take controlled medications should make a choice between the medication and the profession. Professional Licensing Boards in all professions understand that the risk of impairment and damage to the public greatly outweighs any possible individual benefits in specific cases where practice of a profession and concurrent use of controlled medication is at issue. The overwhelming majority of such organizations choose to take the safest course and prohibit use of controlled substance medications or alcohol while practicing a profession. We agree with this policy.” [Click here to read more]
Therefore, it is a strong warning of the Boards that nurses should not take controlled substances including Adderall. Even if you have a valid prescription and your hospital may view a positive drug screen as a negative, it may come back to haunt you should you ever be called before the Board.
I would like to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please share your comments below.
Scott Prather says
I agree. We have to challenge ourselves to do better without drugs. It is an interesting conundrum, however, being that we as nurses are compensated and support passing certain medications, but the boards believe in not allowing us to take certain medications ourselves. So are these medications really a solution for our children then if a board of nurses and doctors don’t believe in their own taking them while working? Get rid of them! Find another solution. Maybe holistic care for children/adults dealing with ADHD. Have faith and confidence that you/you’re child will get better with a little patience and confidence. The adderal epidemic in the 90s was started by the schools pushing for certain kids to take medicines in order to subdue the kids with Adhd so the class rooms would be more functional for everyone. Sure the kid might be more productive, but are we causing future harm? I believe so. Good article to talk about!
If a nurse has been diagnosed with ADHD from a physician (Psychiatrist) has a valid prescription for it why in the world would the Nursing Board take their license away?
A stimulant for an individual with confirmed ADHD affects them completely different than a person without ADHD. It’s like saying a nurse with a seizure disorder isn’t allowed to take Tegretol.
LORIE A BROWN, R.N., M.N., J.D. says
The Boards are concerned with the use of controlled substances even if for legitimate purposes.
Wouldn’t a nurse with untreated ADHD be considered dangerous to patients, especially in a high paced area? Or an area that requires extreme focus? For example, ER, ICU, NICU….. but really almost any nursing job. I wouldn’t want a nurse taking care of me knowing he/she has untreated ADD/ADHD/treatment resistant depression. And if a physician prescribes a stimulant to treat it, the board of nursing has no business implying they are more knowledgeable about the patient’s illness or the chosen treatment choice by the physician. The BON should have good faith in the PHYSICIAN prescribing for the patient, regardless if that patient is a nurse. Also, if something involving a nurse ever went to court and that nurse is taking a stimulant, there are ways to determine if the nurse was abusing the medication versus taking it therapeutically. Most physicians require a UDS regularly for patients on stimulants. Those results can be obtained easily and used as necessary.
LORIE A BROWN, R.N., M.N., J.D. says
Yes this is unfortunate but the Board feels they can take a non controlled substance to treat ADHD.
I would love to know what kind of noncontrolled substance can treat my ADHD, because any that I have tried, doesn’t work. And pretty much anyone with adhd can confirm this. It’s always those without the disability that have so much knowledge on how it affects the person with the disability lol how funny is that ? This whole thread is absurd. The audacity that someone thinks they know more than the doctors discretion for their own patient and say what is in that patients best interest, a patient that they don’t even know. Thankfully my nursing school and state didn’t bat an eye at my legitimate diagnosis or tell me how my doctor should treat me. I don’t understand how we are supposed to advocate for our patients but not for us. Lord, please fix the ignorance.