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PA’s peer-assistance program for pharmacists facing addiction

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | blog, Medical Licensing

In Pennsylvania, state Professional Health Monitoring Programs offer medical professionals struggling with substance use a chance to receive treatment and return to their careers.

By participating in state-approved monitoring programs, health care workers may be able to avoid permanent loss of license. For pharmacists and pharmacy students, this may mean working with the non-profit, peer-assisted organization Secundum Artem Reaching Pharmacists with Help.

What is SARPH?

SARPH is a specialized treatment organization that helps pharmacists with substance use disorders to recover and return to the safe practice of their profession. The program provides treatment and rehabilitation opportunities while ensuring participants meet the requirements of the PHMP and the State Board of Pharmacy.

What does the SARPH program involve?

SARPH participants undergo a treatment evaluation and generally must agree to follow the recommended treatment plan. In addition to in-patient detoxification and/or rehabilitation, individuals may participate in individual and group therapy sessions as well as weekly meetings with a health care professional group.

SARPH participants must also abstain from any addictive substances, including alcohol and cannabis, and must agree to random drug screening.

How long does the program last?

Monitoring and recovery support services generally last for three years. In addition to treatment assistance, SARPH can provide participants with help reinstating their professional licenses and working through issues with criminal charges or convictions.

Pharmacists do not have to wait to receive a PHMP letter to participate in SARPH. Individuals who have concerns about their own drug or alcohol use may be able to avoid a Board complaint and potential criminal charges by seeking assistance early.