Some advice please...

  1. If at all possible, can some of you folks share with me your experience after being drug screened/positive for drugs while at work?

    Last week I was accused of stealing needles or syringes and was confronted the next day by my manager and HR rep. They said my "erratic" behavior (I've had a terribly stressful and emotional summer) and the report about the supplies was cause enough to ask me if "I had anything to tell them". It was horribly embarrassing and I was caught so off guard that I literally had a panic attack right there and started crying.

    I offered a urine sample, which they accepted. My manager told me that she was happy I offered which gave her confidence in me and has been saying that everything will work out well.

    However, I came back positive for benzos and opiates (including codeine and morphine; of course, codeine breaks down into morphine eventually from what I've read) - all of which I have prescriptions for. The HR rep, however, wants a printout of my prescriptions and a list of which meds I had taken that day and at what times. They will then check the concentration levels to see if the numbers match. If the numbers don't match I don't know what will happen. Nothing good, I'm sure.

    Sooooo... with all that... can anyone share what consequences can come of this? I've already secured a new job that starts later this month just to be on the safe side, and will sit down with the HR rep to ask about my rights, confidentiality, outcomes, etc... Still, if anyone here has any advice or comments on how to further handle this situation I would sincerely appreciate it.

    I've been crying all week since this occurred. I'm in the middle of finals for grad school and can't help but wonder how this will affect my future.

    Thanks in advance for your help and advice. I'm literally living in panic mode right now and my Xanax doesn't help one bit it's so bad.
    Last edit by yellow finch on Aug 3, '08 : Reason: clarity
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    About yellow finch

    Joined: Apr '06; Posts: 485; Likes: 126
    Why... RN, of course!
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience in ICU


  3. by   thmpr
    This sounds horrible. And to top it off you are in the middle on finals. I think that's enough to make your mood labile...

    My long-winded two cents:
    I would go to employee assistance (EAP), and let it be known to my supervisor that events at work/home are causing mayhem for me. Hypothetically, if your behavior is coming across "erratic," perhaps some time off may help? No, you probably don't need a break; after all, being a nurse makes you exempt from life's trials and tribulations right?
    I would also seek legal counsel if I felt that I was being wrongfully accused. Are you a member of a union? False accusations can create a hostile work environment where everyone is affected. I would not speak a word of it at work unless confidentially to my direct supervisor. Only you know the truth about what is really going on, and you have the right to defend yourself. I would want to have my own doctor do lab work if I were planning a defense. I would also keep a journal about my feelings and the events proceeding, followed by each day (I read this may actually be therapeutic too).

    It sounds like you have managed this well. You have lifted the burden of finding a new job just in case. Hopefully you can focus on doing well on your finals. I am sure you have invested more than just time into preparing for them.

    Also to consider:
    I know you already know this, so just a reminder: Xanex is one of the benzos that can reduce anxiety without being soporific; however, when taken with other CNS depressants like codeine, it can interfere with motor ability, attention, and judgment; codeines histamine release is actually more potent than MS. In equinalgesic doses in mg (codeine PO: 200; codeine IV/IM: 130) are to (10 MS IV). It is a prototype of MS. Also, codeine w/d can cause insomnia, irritability, panic, N/V, and muscle aches.
    Is this combo of meds working for you? I don't know about you, but I have enough trouble not falling asleep on my books without being sedated. Do you think you should talk to the prescriber?

    I wish I had some experienced advice to offer. I am sorry you are going through this and I sincerely hope this turns out well for you. Please take care of yourself and try to hold your chin up and not let this get in the way of your success!

    :grad: <-- you with MSN
  4. by   lunatunapup
    good luck with all of this. In my case I failed a urine test at work, I had no good proof as to why I tested positive- but hopefully with your case the levels/prescriptions that you have will be sufficient. Employer reported me to the BON, they contacted me, I went for drug/etoh eval, which I guess showed I did indeed have an addiction problem. Offered the chance to enter the voluntary recovery program. They had me go to outpatient rehab, after a few months my counselor there said he would clear me to go back to work. Total out of work time for me was about 6-9 months. The monitoring program lasts for me about 3 years, w/ two NA (or other support meeting- 12 step) a week- with sign in sheets to mail back to the PHMP at the end of each month, 2 random urine screens a month (call everyday to see if "today's the day to pee or not). Came back to work with restrictions, however: no access to narcs (i guess able to pass regular meds, just not controlled meds) I think for about 6 months- although I still do not (not even regular meds). Can't be supervisor, work in ER OR or MD offices- there's a time frame on this one as well- not sure what it is)
    I hear that some employers work with their staff- will hold a job..... My prev employer knows what happened and still took me back (wasn't the place I was reported from, but another facility I've been at for 10+years). Another thing with my monitoring program, my supervisor sends in a evaluation every other month to the program/case manager- not sure what's on it.
    Sorry to be long winded (long handed?) That's how it's happened for me. All I know is I follow every rule that is set by my monitoring program, I now know this is my 2nd chance- and I don't plan on messing this up again.
    good luck :spin: