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awolif9

substance abuse in ems

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The discussion here does not focus on the legality of substances used but the high rate of substance abuse by EMS personnel.

My previous comment regarding alcohol being a much bigger problem still stands, especially when this drug is socially acceptable and this problem is often not addressed.

This is a storm in a tea cup over a little bit of weed..........................

Most, if not all agencies, also have a No Tolerance to alcohol also. If not they should. I worked with a few that as soon as they got off their 24 hr. shift, the next 48 hrs. they were literally in a bar. They might have stopped drinking 6-8 hrs. before their next shift. Sometimes they'd come in OK and other times hung over, or even still "a little buzzed". When this got to be a problem they argued that they couldn't be told what they could or couldn't do off duty. But the City Attorney found where if your activities does effect your work performance as you come on duty, it can be grounds for actions. I know one guy quit and became a dispatcher. One straightened up and sobered up. The other, who even though it came up negative in a UA, was also in possesion of pot. He was dismissed immediately.

I agree whole hardily of alcohol being as big if not bigger of a problem than pot. But by law, even having pot is illegal. Hence illegal = No Tolerance.

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I would have to agree with helimedic on the fact that the topic was suppose to point to the fact of the abuse in the profession. As far as I can see in most of the posts is that everyone tunnled in on the fact that someone smokes pot.

The other thing I saw in these post is that if anyone found out that their partner had a problem with substance abuse they dropped them like a hot potato. Now I don't know how things work in big stations but I would hope to hell that if my partner had a problem I would be able to be there to help them and if it was me with the problem they would help me and not just abandon me.

We spent our time being compassionate to strangers and when it comes time to be compassionate to the one we spend alot of our time together our compassion dissapears.

Our profession along with ff, nurses, police ect are in the top of list of substance abusers. In our jobs we see the worst side of the human species and I dont care how tough you think you are we all have our vices and down falls. Im a very lucky person who lives in a place were I can unwind on the beach, If I need to talk my partner listens and vice versa and my family and friends are my biggest support.

So I guess my point is that maybe instead of just slamming someone and threatning to find them and bring them to justice ect we should be looking at this topic as something that really needs some serious discussion so maybe if someone who does have a problem can read these posts and know that there are people to go to for help.

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I have, and always will help anyone that needs it. I'll help them get help, and support them. When working for a private ambulance service there were a number of times we confronted this. Even though the owners could be real "jerks", they would do anything and everything to get them through it. But some that didn't want the help and insisted on going ahead of smoking, shooting up, and snorting, were released. Luckily some of them did clean up and they were welcomed back. So, no, they weren't dropped like a hot potato. But there are some places, especially municipalities that will. Depends on Mayors, City Managers, and Agency Management.

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My problem with pot versus alcohol is there isnt an adequate test for pot. You can test someone for alcohol and get a reasonable result as to whether they were under the influence at the time the test was performed. All you can gather from marijuana is that they have smoked it in the past 30 days -- could have been this morning, could have been 3 weeks ago, which is why i am against the legalization of pot. I want to know if my medic, my neurosurgeon, or my airline pilot is high while i am in their care. And I would argue that if presecription meds have not surpassed alcohol addiction, it is well on its way to doing so.

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My problem with pot versus alcohol is there isnt an adequate test for pot. You can test someone for alcohol and get a reasonable result as to whether they were under the influence at the time the test was performed. All you can gather from marijuana is that they have smoked it in the past 30 days -- could have been this morning, could have been 3 weeks ago, which is why i am against the legalization of pot. I want to know if my medic, my neurosurgeon, or my airline pilot is high while i am in their care. And I would argue that if presecription meds have not surpassed alcohol addiction, it is well on its way to doing so.

It is possible to test THC levels. Most don't do it because, with pot being illegal, they only need to prove it's presence. If pot where legalized testing procedures and acceptable levels by blood volume would follow shortly. In my personal experience I would rather deal with a stoner than an alcoholic any day.

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No they dont, which is the problem. Most people can mask their addiction for a long time and still function. Once the start to screwup on the job, they are usually way over the edge, and are putting their patients and coworkers at risk. I wish more services did random testing, and forwarded the results to licenising agencies so they can be removed permanantly, instead of bouncing from service to service.

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Most IAFF depatments only drug test during the initial hiring phase, do the private companies do random drug testing, and if so why?

That is just stupid. Testing needs to be random and often. We are dealing with peoples lives and should be held to a higher standard than most. Not only are we talking abusing illegal, prescription, and alchohol, we are also talking helping catch someone that could be stealing and tampering with the drugs on the ambulance. That is crap that the fire union does not hold its members to a higher standard than Joe Rednecks Broken down ambulance service.

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That is just stupid. Testing needs to be random and often. We are dealing with peoples lives and should be held to a higher standard than most. Not only are we talking abusing illegal, prescription, and alchohol, we are also talking helping catch someone that could be stealing and tampering with the drugs on the ambulance. That is crap that the fire union does not hold its members to a higher standard than Joe Rednecks Broken down ambulance service.

Let me add did I say just how stupid that is on the part of the fire union.

Honestly Fire, Police, EMS, Hospital Emergency Services doctors, nurses, etc, be tested before every shift. Again peoples lives are involved and if your impaired you can kill someone. So much for being a "Hero", your really a zero.

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That is just stupid. Testing needs to be random and often. We are dealing with peoples lives and should be held to a higher standard than most. Not only are we talking abusing illegal, prescription, and alchohol, we are also talking helping catch someone that could be stealing and tampering with the drugs on the ambulance. That is crap that the fire union does not hold its members to a higher standard than Joe Rednecks Broken down ambulance service.

Is it the BIG ambulance corparations that do this or the small mom and pop ones, Also in cities, and counties if you radomly drug test the fire department, I gues you have to drug test secrataries, park and rec folks, council/board members, I don't know I guess the list can go on. Do you If they drug test in the hospital for RN's and other healthcare workers?

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