any nurses/nursing students on methadone?

  1. 1
    Hi everyone,

    I will be starting an ADN program next week and was SOOOO worried that my methadone maintenance status was going to be a problem. I haven't heard anything at all from the program and I think if I was going to hear any negative feedback, I would have by now (It's been 2 months since they found out). I didn't try to hide it or anything.. it says it right on the front of my physical sheet and I also put in a letter stating my recovery. I was put on methadone because in the state of massachusetts, when you are pregnant an addict, you can't detox. Unfortunately, I had relapsed a week before I found out I was pregnant.. I keep looking back and thinking "What if I didnt relapse". But my son is perfectly healthy, beautiful and so intelligent. He didn't withdraw at all (Thank God!) from the methadone. I've been voluntarily detoxing for the past 6 months and hope to be off in a year or two.

    I wanted to hear feedback from any other students or nurses that are on methadone or have been on methadone. Were you perceived differently at clinicals or by your fellow employees? Was it an issue? How long have you been on it?
    Thanks guys!

    -christine
    zachjessmom likes this.
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  3. 47 Comments so far...

  4. 5
    There is absolutely no reason for your fellow students to know as long as school staff is aware. Ideally, by the time you graduate, you should have had a great deal of clean time (I'm assuming that you are weaning).

    And for the love of whatever/whomever, don't tell your new colleagues that you have had dependency issues. They will crucify you. Yes, there are many open-minded nurses who know recovery is possible but they are a minority.
    michirn, NevadaFighter, elprup, and 2 others like this.
  5. 5
    There should not be any perceptions to be concerned with because nobody should be aware of your situation. The exception, being of course, the employer. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by bringing up a personal issue that is no one else's business. Give coworkers or fellow students ammunition and you can be certain that someone will be only too happy to use it against you.
    elprup, salvadordolly, jadelpn, and 2 others like this.
  6. 0
    What does the Nurse Practice Act say in your state about taking the NCLEX if you're taking methadone? Yes, you should be weaned off by then. What if you're not? Graduating from school doesn't assure your eligibility for boards or licensure. Consider consulting with a license defense attorney in your state.

    Someone is suing the BON and the department of health in PA over this issue.
    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202462885638

    Jack
  7. 1
    Oh there is NO WAY I would tell any fellow students! I've already been judged enough by my actions that I haven't even told anyone in my family and only 2 of my close friends know. But the clinical sites, if they drug test which I think a good amount do, will obviously know. I'm in Massachusetts and have been trying to look it up.. Kinda confusing for a newbie! I have 2 and a half years clean as of now.. documented with weekly drug tests, attending counseling.. I live a straight life now, to the point where it's pretty plain Jane. I'm getting kinda freaked out now about this..
    elprup likes this.
  8. 1
    I'm wondering about the same thing. I am in Alabama, and I'm working towards a BSN. I'll have all my prerequisites after this semester, and I'm applying to nursing school in a few days, to hopefully start in the fall. But I have been on mmt for about 3 years now, and I'm worried about the drug screen. I've been told to list methadone when I go for the test, and I've been told not to say anything. I don't know if it's a 5 panel test or not. I've worked really hard to get where I am, and I don't want to mess it up. I have a 3.88 GPA, which I've maintained for the past 2 years, while on mmt, so I am definitely not impaired. Then even if there's not a problem with finishing school, I still may have a problem getting my license. It just doesn't seem fair. Having 1st hand experience, I would much rather be treated by a nurse who is stable, on mmt, than one going through withdrawal, or in full blown addiction. Anyway, I've stayed on this long because of pain, so it's much more complicated than just tapering after a detox, but I fear explaining this would be like preaching to the choir, because when most ppl hear methadone, they automatically think ur an addict looking for an excuse to use. If anyone knows anything that might help, I would appreciate it sooo much!!!
    kbucksn likes this.
  9. 0
    I am so happy for you! Congratulations on being clean! It depends on the school policies and states. However, If they have known for a while and you start next week and if there is a problem they would have let you known by now! I cannot say the same about future employers! If future employers find out/if you tell them they may have the right not to give you a job based on your history. Discrimination employments laws cannot dicriminiate against sex, race ,gender but they dont say anything about past drug use.
    Sometimes you have to put your shoes in the shoes of a patient! Would you want your nurse to be on methadone? Would you want your nurse to be an ex drug offender? I hope you will be a great nurse! To be honest I would not want my nurse to be on methadone...no offense.
  10. 0
    Alabama Board of Nursing (800-656-5318)

    Alabama's Voluntary Disciplinary Alternative Program (VDAP) (334-353-9977)

    Contact the Alternative Program or BON (anonymously) directly and ask them about the eligibility for the NCLEX and/or licensure while on Methadone Maintenance. There are very few, if any, states that allow someone on methadone to practice. Rather than guess, find out. If you're afraid to contact the Alabama board, consult with a license defense attorney in Alabama to find out what the law is regarding this issue.

    The American Association of Nurse Attorneys can provide you with referrals, or, contact the state or local bar association for referral to an administrative law attorney with expereince practicing before the Alabama BON.

    Good luck!

    Jack
  11. 2
    Okay, so I started in the fall and it was not a problem at all.
    While I did have it listed on my physical (my doctor said it would be illegal not to include it on my list of medications even though he doesn't prescribe it), I was not tested at my clinical site. However, that does not mean your clinical site won't. The best advice I got was to be open and honest about it and not to lie. I would only let it be known to the director or clinical instructor though.. do NOT tell anyone else! As I have learned since starting, these girls will eat you alive and find any fault you have and straight GOSSIP about you when you're not there.
    Good luck! And check in with the Alabama Board of Nursing.. all the answers should be there.
    zachjessmom and elprup like this.
  12. 0
    i just contacted the nevada board of nursing because i was curious of the answer to this question.
    according to nevada a nurse may NOT practice under the treatment of methadone....they said that is considered an IMPAIRED MEDICAL PROVIDER.

    just call your bon and ask....i never stated my name and i blocked my number from my cell phone...lol

    i work at a methadone clinic....i am very excited you have chosen to work on your addiction and go to nursing school...best wishes...you will do well.....


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