Identifying the Drug Seeker: The Advanced Practice Nurse's Role in Managing Prescription Drug Abuse

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PurposeTo provide advanced practice nurses (APNs) with a definition of drug-seeking behaviors, to identify the common signs and symptoms of drug-seeking behaviors, to furnish tips for managing interactions with and treatment of the drug-seeking patient, and to describe pre-scription parameters that will help APNs avoid legal ramifications.Data SourcesA review of the current scientific and clinical literature regarding interaction with and treatment of patients who abuse prescription drugs.ConclusionsA basic understanding of drug-seeking behaviors and adherence to appropriate procedures for prescribing controlled medications are essential for APNs to maintain their safe prescribing habits; carry on with quality, effective care; and continue the advancement of their profession.Implications for PracticeAs primary care providers, APNs must be aware of the potential complications resulting from interacting with patients who may be seeking prescription drugs for recreational or illicit use, rather than for legitimate reasons.

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