what happens after a positive drug screen is reported? - page 2

As I was interviewing for my first job another person was in the next room taking their drug screen. It came back positive for amphetamines. I know they send it off again to another lab to be tested, but this had me wonder what... Read More

  1. 3
    Beautiful, Boston.

    I am sorry to have been short earlier, but sometimes, I do feel like I am in the this clear case/cage in front of everyone and they just come and want to gawk or in that bad wreck that everyone wants to look at. They can't help nor do they have any issue of their own, but they just want to know. I went through a lot of emotional pain and self medicated with alcohol, then starting having issues with it. I decided to be open about it to help others, esp other nurses, going through a similar situation (it is scary not knowing what to expect). Not to be an informative for curious people.

    I have to second Boston's opinion. I did self report via being honest on my application to the BON. I am 3 months into HPMP. I did go through irritability with having to do HPMP, but I realized, especially now, that they may have saved me from self destruction.

    I feel like I am this dog that can't leave well enough alone and the alcohol is a bird or cat that I so badly want to chase after, but I can't because of the BON/HPMP keeping me on this short leash. Eventually, I'll get to the point of not needing the leash (after my 5 year contract.) With my appts and meetings, self control is learned somewhere during this. That's about 3-6 months in, when they give you a little more leash and let you go find employment. But, they are still there after the contract-- that if you step out of line (or chase after that cat or bird) back on contract (the leash) you go. If you do it over and over, then you become too unsafe for the public, and it's game over. To the pound and euthanized (meaning, your license is revoked).

    That's the best way I can put it.

    But, Boston, that is a beautiful story!! Kudos to you for realizing you had a problem.

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  2. 2
    BostonTerrierLoverRN--thank you so much for sharing your story. Congratulations on your years of sobriety! May you have many, many more. You give hope to others, and that's what nursing is (or should be) all about. Blessings!
    tewdles and BostonTerrierLoverRN like this.
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    Congrats on your sobriety wish_me_luck! Your words are very close to my heart!

    I felt that way in early recovery, and then when I started feeling better-I could use healthier and stronger coping mechanisms, of them, my favorite is humor. I heard this quote once, and tattood it on my brain: "Once one looses their good reputation, one can find a unique overwhelming liberty."

    I wouldn't go back to the old Boston if I could! He was sickly, secretive, isolated, shy, fake, hopelessly depressed, anxious, paranoid, fearful, sleepless, and always waiting on the sky to fall. I knew admitting I was an addict to myself was going to be an earth-shattering amount of pain, and I had created such a sick, sad, and disgusting mess (felt like a hoarder inside, and everyone could now see the devastating mess I had made inside- especially since everyone thought I had it so together- Graduating Honors, went to college on a Sports and ACT scholarship- RN at 19, BSN at 21, 1 year of med-surg, 6 mos in to that started backing Up ER, then a year into it transferred to ER-worked another 6 months and signed a 6 month contract as ER/Coordinator).

    All that looked good and successful was a beautifully constructed home exterior to house a disastrous mess that I guarded and closed off inside. It's lonely in active addiction, especially when the secret was kept from everyone including my spouse.

    Epiphany- they helped clean the mess up, nurses the sore spots, and gave me a clean slate- I will use it to fight this foul, hateful, selfish, disgusting, lying, isolating, painful, manipulative, complex, mind-gripping, and fatal disease that robs GOOD people of their dignity, hope, and destroys their dreams, aspirations, friends, careers, family, and self worth, confidence, and strength.

    We are survivors! Victors! We are living proof of human will to overcome, persevere, and thrive in the face of impossible adversity. I wouldn't trade my journey for anything- I am smart- not strong! I learned my weaknesses, and more important, my strengths!

    One day, hopefully addicts won't have to walk in our shoes, and they will have better treatments with higher success rates. Prisons, Institutions, and Death be damned!
    Last edit by BostonTerrierLoverRN on Nov 14, '12 : Reason: Grammar/spelling
    jmo1231, TXRN2, and TnRN43 like this.
  4. 0
    Thanks for all your kind words as well, I think I thoroughly answered what happens after the dreaded positive!

    I say all this not for me, but so that when you see that addict in your care, hopefully, you will see the person ALWAYS, and never the disease, you might be the one who reaches them!

    Also, Best of Luck and Congrats! on your becoming a Nurse OP!
    Last edit by BostonTerrierLoverRN on Nov 14, '12 : Reason: Format
  5. 1
    Ok I want to say congratulations on all that has overcome their addiction, that takes a really strong person to do that! I have had family members who have struggled for years and still are and all I can do is be there for them and try to get them help. It's stories like this that give me hope and inspire me. I know everyone has issues, just because we are nurses doesn't mean we don't have the same things in common as our patients sometimes. I want to also say thank you so much for sharing your stories as well. I know it's hard for some people to open up and share with others about their life and struggles. But it is a blessing when others can share their own personal stories to help others.
    But I do want to say to wish_me_luck I am not trying to be nosey or figure out what will happen to that other person. I stated this the way I did because no names of anyone needs to be disclosed, that is their personal business and like I said in a following post they could be prescribed this medication and everything will be fine for them. I wanted to know the process of what the BON would do because while I was in school we were just told that you couldn't take meds that weren't prescribed to you and not get in trouble. We were never told what the trouble was or how things worked. When I heard this it made me wonder what really does happen if someone gets reported, or if I would ever get reported. I wasn't bashing anyone, I wasn't putting anyone down or belittling them. I just wanted to know for my own personal knowledge what does BON do when a nurse is reported. You have taken my initial post wrong and I tried to clear that up with my response to the first person who posted back. I personally have dealt with issues throughout my life as well and was able to overcome them. So by no means was I trying to find out what happened to that certain person (like I said before I don't know all of the details about that situation so it was never my intention to try to snoop in their lives) I wanted to know what the BON would do to a nurse who was reported, that was it. So again you took my post wrong, which now reading back I can totally understand why you did. But my intentions were to just learn the steps that a nurse would have to go through after something like this and hopefully be able to keep their license.
    TracyE78 I do agree it is a HIPPA violation and if it was me in that other nurses shoes I would be highly upset just do to the fact that others were able to hear about my situation.
    I want to say I am truly sorry if I offended anyone with my post. That wasn't my intentions and I should have went about asking in another way. But I do want to say thank you again for all the feedback that everyone has given.
    Meriwhen likes this.
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    Loved reading your recovery stories! Kudos to you all.


    To the OP, I was surprised at my last drug test that I was not allowed to disclose my prescription medications. I had a legitimate prescription for Ambien and I was terrified it was going to show up. They gave me no opportunity to let them know beforehand, and were quite rude. Thankfully, my test was negative (maybe they don't test for Ambien?), but I was really surprised at how the process went. Perhaps I would have been given opportunity to explain had something turned up positive, but I don't know.
    BostonTerrierLoverRN likes this.
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    I have heard (no idea if it's true or not) that they don't have you advance-disclose prescription meds anymore b/c it's a HIPAA issue.

    It's none of the test-proctor's (or lab technician or secretary/receptionist or whomever) business what drugs you take for what conditions. If something does come up positive, THEN they ask you what drugs you take and expect you to provide proof of prescription, but all of that usually happens with either a medical officer or someone in the HR department.

    Making you disclose your medical history to people who have no legitimate need to know it is just opening the testing facility up to more potential liability for HIPAA violations. If they don't have a list of your medications in their file somewhere in the first place, then they don't have to worry about someone accidentally disclosing that information.
  8. 0
    Like CarryThatWeight's experience, our nursing school is the same sort of thing. They won't accept a copy of rx's from someone, (even if disclosed voluntarily - even if legally prescribed) - until after the first drug screen returns a positive. THEN, they have the person submit their prescription hx while paying for a second test to confirm (or whatever it is that they do with the second test) the first test, even if that student has expressly told them in advance that the first test would likely return a positive for xyz medication, or attempted to offer documentation.

    But if a student comes up to them and says, "I'm taking thus and such drug," but no positive comes up, then that student doesn't have to pay for a second test or confirm their present prescriptions or lack thereof. It seems a little counterproductive to me...

    Also, everyone knew what was going on with everyone else because there would be up to five students in the bathroom at the same time being watched by 1 testing person with only stall doors between them (and all the doors open so the testing personnel could see). The students couldn't see each other, but they could hear everything. Private information about everything, including what intimate apparel a student may or may not have been wearing that day, was soon disseminated to everyone. Confidentiality was nonexistent.

    Some people taking the same prescribed medication(s) returned a positive for those medications while others did not.
  9. 0
    Quote from Sadala
    Some people taking the same prescribed medication(s) returned a positive for those medications while others did not.
    Assuming that there is no urine tampering going on and no problems with the testing itself...

    One explanation for that is that different people metabolize drugs at different rates. I have a patient who takes clonazepam religiously, yet on every urine drug screen turns up negative for benzos. I ran it by the doctor, who explained that it may just be the patient's metabolism. I keep trying to explain this to the other nurse, who keeps suspecting foul play...which, thanks to witnessing, has been ruled out in this case. Goes to show you that sometimes a negative test can cause more uproar than a positive one.

    Another explanation is that those who tested negative may not be taking the drug exactly as prescribed. They may be halving or skipping doses, or are taking it PRN.
  10. 1
    Quote from Meriwhen
    One explanation for that is that different people metabolize drugs at different rates. I have a patient who takes clonazepam religiously, yet on every urine drug screen turns up negative for benzos. I ran it by the doctor, who explained that it may just be the patient's metabolism. I keep trying to explain this to the other nurse, who keeps suspecting foul play...which, thanks to witnessing, has been ruled out in this case. Goes to show you that sometimes a negative test can cause more uproar than a positive one.

    Another explanation is that those who tested negative may not be taking the drug exactly as prescribed. They may be halving or skipping doses, or are taking it PRN.
    I've heard about the metabolism issue before. As to the second explanation, hadn't even thought about that one. I guess for me I was just thinking that perhaps the industry needs to police its confidentiality a little better and also that the "real" purpose of the testing wasn't to protect patients from nurses who might have addiction issues (and to help addicted nurses seek tx), as it was just a cover from liability.
    Meriwhen likes this.


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