A yearlong investigation by The News Leader started with a database hand built from thousands of pages of disciplinary records and expanded into interviews with addicted nurses themselves and dozens of experts. The team found that 900 nurses statewide have been publicly disciplined since 2007 for stealing patients narcotics or using drugs (even more are in confidential treatment). Many of the nurses went back to seeing patients during a poorly managed monitoring program, or sometimes the state just lost track of them altogether. The investigation and deep explanation of the problem, with stories of the struggles of individual nurses, is leading to change statewide, including the governor's call for a background check law for nursing license applicants and his proposal to add funding to the Board of Nursing.
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