Feature: Drug addiction among health workers, a silent struggle

Monica’s Story; Monica was once a shining star in the nursing profession, revered and admired by her peers for over 20 years. However, after the loss of her mother, Monica felt isolated and overwhelmed by the pressure from her work and abdominal pain caused her to begin self-medicating with pethidine.

The pressure and pain became too much to handle, and Monica used the cover of her nursing profession to purchase more pethidine without a prescription.

Her colleagues began to suspect drug addiction and reported her to higher authorities. After contemplating suicide, Monica made the bold decision to seek help. Today, she is working as a nurse at a Catholic health facility and has been drug-free since completing a four-month rehabilitation program.

The Bigger Picture

Sadly, Monica’s story is not unique – Perpetual Ofori, President of Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, acknowledges that drug addiction among health workers has been an issue for many years. Nurses who struggle with addiction face increased risks, with some even losing their lives as a result.

Former Education Minister Lee Ocran dead

Ofori calls for improved counseling and support systems for nurses suffering from substance abuse. Studies have found that healthcare workers who steal drugs often tamper with medications, leaving them contaminated and putting patient safety at risk. Thus, it’s essential for the management of health facilities to detect and report drug thefts to prevent further harm. Unfortunately, drug disappearances have been uncovered in hospitals across the nation, causing concern among healthcare experts.

Doctors, nurses, and other health care workers are suspected of misusing and diverting high-risk medications from in-hospital supplies, leaving many facilities ill-equipped to combat the problem. The added stress from COVID-19 has only compounded these issues, with many healthcare workers struggling under immense time pressures.

Overcoming Addiction and Seeking Help

Harriet, an occupational therapist, has helped hundreds of addicts overcome their addiction. She explains that individuals often turn to drugs due to being overworked and feeling immense stress. However, stigma and fear can prevent healthcare workers from seeking help for their addiction, putting both their lives and their patients’ lives at risk.

[Photos] GMB 2017 runner-up Baaba begins mental health tour

Desperate to hide their illness, many healthcare workers suffer in silence and neglect to seek help in a timely manner. The fear of being fired or arrested for drug abuse serves as a barrier to receiving the support they need.

Addressing the Issue and Providing Support

In light of these findings, experts interviewed by TV3 in Accra emphasize the importance of opening conversations and breaking down the stigma and fear surrounding addiction. We must work together to ensure that healthcare workers and others suffering from addiction receive the help, compassion, and support they deserve.


In order to address the hidden struggle of drug addiction among healthcare workers, we must focus on creating a more supportive and nurturing environment that encourages individuals to seek help. Only by breaking down the stigma and fear associated with addiction can we hope to provide the necessary guidance and understanding required to help those in need. By sharing stories like Monica’s and promoting open discussions about addiction in the medical field, we can work together to create a health system that truly supports its workers and patients alike.

I can’t change - Captain Smart

By Emmanuel Samani|3news.com|Ghana



  1. It’s so sad to hear of nurses and midwives abusing drugs. ‘Who cares for the career. The environment we find ourselves is so judgemental that we suffer in silence I’m even if we are in pain. Hmmmmm


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here