Suboxone and Nursing

  1. 0
    Hi,

    I'm very interested in working in health-care, however, a couple years ago I had an opiate addiction, admitted myself to rehab, and I am now on Suboxone. I've been clean ever since and do not have cravings. Will my past not allow me to par-take in a health focused career?

    Thanks,

    Fulfillment
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  4. 14 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    Hi,
    I can't address the legal aspects although keep in mind it is not your past but your present that concerns me. While I applaud you for coming off the benzos I'm not a big fan of long term use of suboxone or methadone to treat addiction and wouldn't really consider myself "clean" while still on either of them. I do wish you luck and hope you can find a way to become a nurse if that is what you want.
    Cherybaby likes this.
  6. 1
    In Texas the question they ask during pre screen for licensure is "Within the past five (5) years have you been addicted to and/or treated for the use of alcohol or any other drug?"

    Suboxone is considered a treatment for drug addiction. When you have been off suboxone for five years and have been clean, you are eligible for licensure in Texas. I think this is pretty standard, but check with your local board of nursing.
    Cherybaby likes this.
  7. 0
    I re-read your initial post and you seem to be interested in any part of healthcare, not specifically nursing, is that right? For whatever you are interested in, check with the licensing board. If you want to be a patient care tech (or aide), it is up to the individual hospital. After you have been hired and need to take a screen, if suboxone is a drug that will show up as an opioid, I would disclose the information then. Otherwise it is personal health information, on a need-to-know basis.

    But, like I said, if it's for licensure, it then becomes a need-to-know situation.
  8. 0
    Suboxone does not show up as an opiod in the standard pre employment drug test. They have to be looking for the drug to find it. I know several nurses in Texas that work while being treated with suboxone for chronic pain, etc. I believe you do NOT have to be off of it for five years before you apply for licensure. It is totally up to your doctor and you if you are practicing safe nursing then your medical information is private.
  9. 3
    Why, if suboxone or methadone is being used by a nurse, under the supervision of their MD, and they have been on appropriately low "maintenance doses" for years, without any abuse of this or other meds, would any board disapprove. I mean, I know they will, but... One could argue that the med would impair the nurse, but tolerance is achieved rapidly and easily on these drugs and there is documentation proving that they do not have the euphoric, clouded sensorium effects on long term users that other opiates have. Is a diabetic nurse considered impaired? I mean, her insulin dose could cause her to bottom out or her unmonitored, super-high glucose could affect her judgement. Same goes for those of us on Ritalin or antidepressants. Monitored, medically supervised, symptom-appropriate prescription drug use is NOT drug abuse! When does it end? I do consider someone on suboxone, IF they have not used in any other context, clean. Just because they chose to treat the god-awful, relapse inducing withdrawal symptoms, is no reason to consider them as "using".
    lizard217, OB4Me2, and VM85 like this.
  10. 0
    Quote from dph1965
    Just because they chose to treat the god-awful, relapse inducing withdrawal symptoms, is no reason to consider them as "using".
    I don't think anyone is saying they are "using" but frankly treating "the god-awful, relapse inducing withdrawal (uhh ok) symptoms" long term does raise a red flag for me. We all know there are some doctors that will prescribe anything someone whines for. So far I haven't worked with any diabetics or nurses on Prozac that are imparied or divert those meds for kicks but I guess it could happen.
  11. 2
    Actually, I've never worked with anyone who diverted Prozac either, but then who would know, it's not counted! And, easy to get anyway. But, I have worked with many impaired nurses who were not taking scheduled meds. I'm just saying there are many reasons for using narcotic medication that are reasonable, and if done under the care of a responsible physician, AND not taken while on duty, they are just as fit to nurse as any other nurse. Unfortunately, a person could take a vicodin on their Sunday afternoon off for, lets say, lumbar vertebral disc dessication with nerve impingement, and just because it would show in a random urine on Monday, this does not make the nurse impaired during her shift. My earlier text was an example. I think it's automatically assumed that a former narc addict (over 10 yrs ago, had 9 yrs without until accident) can't take controlled meds responsibly and minimally. The dogmas espoused by the hard core 12-steppers have propagated this notion. Why is the responsible user of occasional Vicodin impaired while the brittle, insulin dependant, obese nurse (with whom I work) who bottoms out at least once a week on shift less impaired?
    lizard217 and needhelp_asap like this.
  12. 3
    Let's get back to the topic of working as a nurse while on suboxone. Thanks.
    PhoenixTech, needhelp_asap, and sirI like this.
  13. 1
    Quote from dph1965
    Actually, I've never worked with anyone who diverted Prozac either, but then who would know, it's not counted! And, easy to get anyway. But, I have worked with many impaired nurses who were not taking scheduled meds. I'm just saying there are many reasons for using narcotic medication that are reasonable, and if done under the care of a responsible physician, AND not taken while on duty, they are just as fit to nurse as any other nurse. Unfortunately, a person could take a vicodin on their Sunday afternoon off for, lets say, lumbar vertebral disc dessication with nerve impingement, and just because it would show in a random urine on Monday, this does not make the nurse impaired during her shift. My earlier text was an example. I think it's automatically assumed that a former narc addict (over 10 yrs ago, had 9 yrs without until accident) can't take controlled meds responsibly and minimally. The dogmas espoused by the hard core 12-steppers have propagated this notion. Why is the responsible user of occasional Vicodin impaired while the brittle, insulin dependant, obese nurse (with whom I work) who bottoms out at least once a week on shift less impaired?
    Thanks for responding. I think this is a relevant line of discussion. Sorry the plug got pulled.
    Cherybaby likes this.


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