Everyone makes mistakes. Even though medical professionals must often meet a higher standard than most people because they can literally hold people's lives in their hands, they too, make mistakes. The stresses of the job could easily lead to the misuse of drugs or alcohol to cope.
If you are a physician, that mistake could have a significant impact on your professional life and license. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the damage, and Pennsylvania's Voluntary Recovery Program is one of them. No one wants to see a talented individual have to leave the medical profession if possible.
How do I know if I can participate in VRP?
If you meet the following criteria, you may be able to make use of and benefit from this program:
- First, you need a clinical diagnosis of your substance abuse issue through your participation in an evaluation.
- Second, you must participate in and adhere to the treatment program developed for you by one of the state's approved providers.
- Third, you must sign an agreement that you understand that any disciplinary action will be deferred pending your satisfactory completion of the program.
If you successfully make it through three years of monitoring, you will suffer no adverse consequences, and nothing ends up on your official record. There are some instances in which you may not be eligible for this program, and a frank discussion with your attorney could determine whether any of those criteria apply to you.
Things to watch out for while in VRP
You should know that you will be under intense scrutiny during the program and will only be able to work under supervision.
You may not consume any product that may contain alcohol ranging from whiskey to mouthwash. You may not consume any addictive or mood altering medications. If something happens and you require a prescription for such a medication, you must inform the appropriate parties within the VRP no later than 48 hours after receiving the prescription.
Be sure that the prescribing physician is aware of your participation in the program. Failing to follow this simple step could put you in violation of your agreement with the board. Of course, you remain subject to random drug and alcohol testing even after you leave treatment, so it's crucial that you make sure you don't inadvertently violate any terms of your agreement.
For example, if you like poppy seed muffins, you will need to curb your cravings for the duration of the program since they can cause a false positive on testing. Grandma's rum raisin cake may also be off limits, along with rubbing alcohol or any other seemingly innocuous product that contains alcohol or could cause a false positive on a drug test.
You can get back on track and enjoy a prosperous future
Right now, you may feel as though your world is upside down and can never be put right again. Fortunately, that simply isn't the case. You can get through this situation, and you don't have to go through it alone. An attorney who represents people in your position could prove invaluable in getting you the help you need and helping right your ship.