In August, 2013, the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing drastically changed the interpretation of the statute governing suspension of a nursing license for a violation under the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.
In the past year I represented several students in graduate nursing programs in the areas of nurse practitioner as well as certified registered nurse anesthetist who have been terminated from these programs for either recreational drug use or use of a pain medication without a prescription.
After recovering from an addiction, many people return to school, change careers and often want to get into the healthcare field. If you are in recovery and wish to get into the healthcare field, there will be some obstacles. In the past several months, I have received several telephone calls from people graduating nursing school who are facing challenges securing a healthcare license.
In the past year, I have represented a dozen nurses and doctors who have been accused of being impaired on the job. Many of these clients have been on pain medication and anti-anxiety medication. Many healthcare professionals who suffer from chronic pain are being prescribed opiate medications. Often, depression and anxiety medication are prescribed as well. Because of concerns over the use of opiate medication leading to addiction, more and more pain management doctors are beginning to prescribe alternatives to opiates. Recently, I have seen many clients who are now being prescribed Neurontin (gabapentin) to manage their pain. Some clients are also being prescribed Amrix, a muscle relaxer.
If you have successfully completed the three years in the VRP (Voluntary Recovery Program), congratulations. I know it is a long and difficult process.