(HealthDay News) — In a joint position statement published online May 2 in the Journal of Addictions Nursing, the Emergency Nurses Association and International Nurses Society on Addictions present guidelines relating to substance use disorders for nurses and nursing students.

Stephen Strobbe, PhD, RN, from the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor, and Melanie Crowley, RN, from the Emergency Nurses Association, address the treatment of alcohol and other substance use disorders among nurses and nursing students.

The authors note that health care facilities should provide education to nurses and other employees relating to alcohol and drug use, and promote safe, supportive drug-free workplaces. Alternative-to-discipline approaches should be adopted by health care facilities and nursing schools in order to treat nurses and nursing students with substance use disorders, with the aims of retention, rehabilitation, and reentry into safe, professional practice. In the context of personal use, drug diversion should be viewed mainly as a symptom of a serious and treatable disease, and not only as a crime. Nurses and nursing students should be aware of substance abuse-associated risks, impaired practice, and drug diversions, and should have the responsibility and means to report suspected or actual concerns.

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“Professional monitoring programs that employ an alternative-to-discipline approach have been shown to be effective in the treatment of health professionals with substance use disorders and are considered a standard for recovery, with high rates of completion and return to practice,” the authors write.


  1. Strobbe S, Crowley M. Substance use among nurses and nursing students: A joint position statement of the emergency nurses association and the international nurses society on addictions. J Addict Nurs. 2 May 2017. doi: 10.1097/JAN.0000000000000150