Drug Testing - page 6

I'm going to get raked over the coals for this one... But I just HAD to ask this question. At any point in your nursing career were you drug tested? I'll say no more. And no, I'm not a pothead.... Read More

  1. by   talaxandra
    Quote from Gompers
    I guess I really don't understand what the problem is? Invasion of privacy or not, it's totally necessary - if you are doing illegal drugs or taking meds that you don't have a doctor's prescription for, then you aren't fit to have people's lives in your hands. <snip> And generally, it's rare to find someone getting all up in arms about privacy and random urine testing if they're not doing anything wrong.
    As I've previously posted, drug testing isn't routine in Australia, so this isn't something I've been faced with. Let me add that I don't use illicit drugs. However, I have a script for Panadeine Forte - although I only take it rarely (my migraines being mercifully less frequent), I have taken it at work (from my own, prescribed and paid for stock) and it has not affected my performance.
    Here's the thing - if I'm tested and test positive for opiates a) I can't prove that I haven't been diverting morph and b) I need to explain my use. I imagine that an employer who feels the need to drug test me won't accept my word, so at the least I need to show them the package and prescription label, perhaps even a note from my GP. Apart from the privacy issue (which I'm not minimising), I don't personally have a problem with that in this context. However, people take a variety of prescription meds for a variety of reasons that are not their employers' business.

    Quote from Gompers
    Even doing it in your off time, it's still mind-altering and illegal! It WILL cross over to your work life eventually, believe me.
    The mind-altering part fine, but as other posters have pointed out, alcohol is also mind-altering and that's not checked for. In fact, there are a whole host of things that affect performance, including lack of sleep (which some studies equate to being over the limit for drunk driving) that are a whole lot more prevalent than drug use.
    The fact that the drugs they test for are illegal is not so much of an issue for me. In the first place, there's a difference between recreational drug use and drug dependency - drug dependent nurses tend to use prescription meds, day in day out; recreational users are more likely to separate their drug use and their work schedule, allowing time to recover. I acknowledge that this is not always the case, just my experience working with nurses who use recreational drugs - it's hard to be a heavy duty stoner and still haul yourself in to work!
    In the second place, there are a bunch of other illegal things that people do which is not the business of the employer. I'm thinking here primarily of victimless crime that is of differing legal status depending on location - gambling and prostitution, for example. If a person is caught by the police with a personal-use quantity of marijuana, first offense, they'll be let off with a caution. If they test positive they could lose not only their job but also their ability to practice. This seems a little extreme to me.
    I admit that this argument is based on the premise that recreational drug use is not a serious thing for most people, so if one has a different basic premise none of this will hold water.

    Quote from CCU NRS
    I just think the entire issue is out of control surrounding marijuana because legalization would be the beginning of the end of the war on drugs and our U.S. Govt. makes too much money from that little enterprise.
    Just think of the money to be made if illicit drugs were legislated by the government - not only direct revenue through taxes but a) decreased expenditure on police, courts and jails, and b) legal drugs undercut organised crime profits. Less blood-borne diseases = decreased healthcare costs, and some of the money could be put into education and rehab facilities. Or is that a whole new thread?!
  2. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I have been drug tested for almost every job I've had, and was tested prior to being admitted to nursing school, as well.

    My personal belief is that no one should be drug tested unless they have done something to warrant suspicion of drug use.
  3. by   CCU NRS
    Quote from talaxandra
    As I've previously posted, drug testing isn't routine in Australia, so this isn't something I've been faced with. Let me add that I don't use illicit drugs. However, I have a script for Panadeine Forte - although I only take it rarely (my migraines being mercifully less frequent), I have taken it at work (from my own, prescribed and paid for stock) and it has not affected my performance.
    Here's the thing - if I'm tested and test positive for opiates a) I can't prove that I haven't been diverting morph and b) I need to explain my use. I imagine that an employer who feels the need to drug test me won't accept my word, so at the least I need to show them the package and prescription label, perhaps even a note from my GP. Apart from the privacy issue (which I'm not minimising), I don't personally have a problem with that in this context. However, people take a variety of prescription meds for a variety of reasons that are not their employers' business.


    The mind-altering part fine, but as other posters have pointed out, alcohol is also mind-altering and that's not checked for. In fact, there are a whole host of things that affect performance, including lack of sleep (which some studies equate to being over the limit for drunk driving) that are a whole lot more prevalent than drug use.
    The fact that the drugs they test for are illegal is not so much of an issue for me. In the first place, there's a difference between recreational drug use and drug dependency - drug dependent nurses tend to use prescription meds, day in day out; recreational users are more likely to separate their drug use and their work schedule, allowing time to recover. I acknowledge that this is not always the case, just my experience working with nurses who use recreational drugs - it's hard to be a heavy duty stoner and still haul yourself in to work!
    In the second place, there are a bunch of other illegal things that people do which is not the business of the employer. I'm thinking here primarily of victimless crime that is of differing legal status depending on location - gambling and prostitution, for example. If a person is caught by the police with a personal-use quantity of marijuana, first offense, they'll be let off with a caution. If they test positive they could lose not only their job but also their ability to practice. This seems a little extreme to me.
    I admit that this argument is based on the premise that recreational drug use is not a serious thing for most people, so if one has a different basic premise none of this will hold water.


    Just think of the money to be made if illicit drugs were legislated by the government - not only direct revenue through taxes but a) decreased expenditure on police, courts and jails, and b) legal drugs undercut organised crime profits. Less blood-borne diseases = decreased healthcare costs, and some of the money could be put into education and rehab facilities. Or is that a whole new thread?!
    your point a) decreased expenditure on police, courts and jails, and b) legal drugs undercut organised crime profits are two reasons that the Govt. won't legalize.

    I also agree with what you said about recreational use as relates to users being in better control and not using surrounding work hours, addiction is overwhelming and an addict will use regardless.
  4. by   hogan4736
    We had 2 po dilaudis missing from our E box...


    What if I am on Vicodin, and have to drop a UA because I work at the facility that's missing dilaudid?

    I test opiate positive...

    There are holes in the random UA testing policies...
  5. by   z's playa
    Quote from hogan4736
    We had 2 po dilaudis missing from our E box...


    What if I am on Vicodin, and have to drop a UA because I work at the facility that's missing dilaudid?

    I test opiate positive...

    There are holes in the random UA testing policies...
    I'm guessing a script for the narcotic would clear it right up but...what if the drug missing was your drug prescribed? Imagine! They couldn't prove it but boy would you be watched. I agree, many holes.
    How many times has one of you taken one of your friends prescription meds for pain like T3? No script? PANIC CITY!
    I believe all this testing infringes on personal lives and it could be too easy to lose your license.

    But on the other hand it has its good side.
  6. by   caroladybelle
    Quote from z's playa
    A pregnancy test? That's against human rights! That's grounds for a law suit and you could prove it was discrimination as well! I can't believe it.
    Several hospitals that I have worked for required an RPR.

    I do not even want to know the reason behind that one.
  7. by   teeituptom
    As Professional nurses

    all wanting to further the nursing profession

    you should support Random Drug testing

    help keep the drug impaired nurses out of patient care

    Do you want some nurse under the influence of Fentanyl or hydrocodone giving you your meds or treatments, I certainly dont.
  8. by   mattsmom81
    Quote from caroladybelle
    Several hospitals that I have worked for required an RPR.

    I do not even want to know the reason behind that one.
    Not too many years ago a RPR was done on everybody it seems. New employees, and all patients admitted to the hospitals in my area. I'd bet the 'reasoning' was to control STD's, but in reality gotta wonder how many people were stigmatized and hurt with this information.
  9. by   purplemania
    Each time I started a new job and once as a result of random drug testing. We have a policy that if an employee is involved in an accident or exposure during work hours a drug test is required. I know of two people who were fired due to positive drug screen, but I don't know the particulars.
  10. by   talaxandra
    Quote from CCU NRS
    your point a) decreased expenditure on police, courts and jails, and b) legal drugs undercut organised crime profits are two reasons that the Govt. won't legalize.
    I don't understand why these are reasons against legalisation - every government everywhere is aware of how much money the legal system costs, particularly for minor-league drug offences, and the Three-strikes law has just compunded an already significant problem.
    At the same time trying to police and monitor organised crime is an on-going, difficult and expensive issue, so surely the government doesn't want to aid organised crime.
    This isn't a dig at you, CCU NRS, BTW. Maybe it's because I'm on nights, or maybe it's not my fogginess, it's the government's!

    I appreciate that legalisation would make the whole War on Drugs look like a farce, but it's not exactly been a strategy on overwhelming effectiveness so far.

    Quote from teeituptom
    As Professional nurses all wanting to further the nursing profession you should support Random Drug testing help keep the drug impaired nurses out of patient care Do you want some nurse under the influence of Fentanyl or hydrocodone giving you your meds or treatments, I certainly dont.
    Misuse and appropriation of licit drugs doesn't seem to be a huge problem, at least in my experience. I'm not denying that it happens - of course it does - but it's hardly an endemic issue. As a union rep in a large tertiary hospital, I've been involved with disciplinary proceedings, and there haven't been that many, even before we started logging schedule 11 drugs (benzos, Panadeine Forte...). As for schedule 8 drugs (opiates, amohetamines etc), that's very rare indeed.

    Yet you have a systemic testing system, which affects every nurse and costs her/him money, and what sounds like a potentially Draconian penalty (see http://allnurses.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67987). This all sounds to me like the drug-impaired nurse is more likely to move on, leave nursing, be at risk, than seek help.

    I don't think that random drug testing is a mark of professionalism. As I posted earlier, drug testing isn't the norm in Aus, and I don't know how it works in the US. Are docs tested also? What about other professionals with access to meds, like pharmacists?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating narcotic diversion or use, and I think that post-treatment drug impaired nurses ought to be monitored for a period of time after they return to work. However this blanket testing of nurses strikes me as invasive and unwarranted.
    Does anyone know if it's an effective policy for reducing nursing drug misuse? Also, why do students need to be tested? Surely they're not allowed to administer any drug to a patient without being supervised.
  11. by   CCU NRS
    Quote from talaxandra
    I don't understand why these are reasons against legalisation - every government everywhere is aware of how much money the legal system costs, particularly for minor-league drug offences, and the Three-strikes law has just compunded an already significant problem.
    At the same time trying to police and monitor organised crime is an on-going, difficult and expensive issue, so surely the government doesn't want to aid organised crime.
    This isn't a dig at you, CCU NRS, BTW. Maybe it's because I'm on nights, or maybe it's not my fogginess, it's the government's!
    I just think that Police Agencies and Govt. Make a lot of money from the process as it is currently set up. I also beleive it would naive to believe that some Police and govt. officials (not all)recieve payoffs to look the other way and let drugs into the country or there would be much less ever reaching the streets of USA
  12. by   Groovydogg
    I do not believe that drug testing is an unreasonable invasion of privacy considering the consequences that are possible. I fully support random drug testing for many professions including nursing. Impaired nurses (pilots, surgeons, bus drivers, truck drivers, etc.) kill people and anyone who fights to protect the "privacy" of these dregs share in the blame of all they kill. Most unions (nursing and otherwise) are guilty of facilitating this death toll by opposing drug testing. If you want a job where drug taking is tolerated become an athlete or rock star.
  13. by   StreetRN
    Pre-employment testing is mandatory at our hospital. Also, random tests are regularly performed. And anyone involved in a driving accident while on duty is automatically tested. It's just the way it is. My thought is....if you dont' do illegal substances, you don't have to worry...if you take legit prescription meds and advise of same, you still don't have anything to worry about.

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