Pre-admittance Drug Screen Concerns

  1. Hi all,
    Background: I have been planning on applying to WGU's prelicensure RN/BSN program for some time now, chipping away at prerequisites between a surprise baby and working as a tech in a busy ER. I'll be transferring in a previously earned BA so it won't be my first go-round at college, though it will be a new experience.

    Current concern: I know that WGU requires a pre-admittance drug screen, which they of course should... but I also know that I will fail said drug screen because of legal, long-term prescribed, physician regulated medications that are not an option to discontinue.

    How will the school handle this? Does anyone have any experience? Is this a "Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200 or a new degree" end point? I understand there could be very serious potential patient safety and legal issues regarding students using even prescribed medications in a clinical setting, but is there any leeway? Would a physician(s) note declaring me a model patient for all the many years they have seen me hold any weight? Or am I done before I've had the chance to begin here?

    These are medications that are used only as directed, that I have been on for many years, that my current employer had zero issue with when I was able to produce current prescriptions for each and every one, etc. I only very recently had the realization that I might be in big trouble, having wasted a lot of time, energy, and money if my medications are going to end my journey. I have asked my admissions adviser for more clarification, but have yet to get any straight answers. If anyone can offer any insight, I would really appreciate it.
    •  
  2. Visit AldreaFalan profile page

    About AldreaFalan

    Joined: Mar '17; Posts: 9

    17 Comments

  3. by   JD2RN
    I would talk to the WGU director of nursing for your state. This is honestly a legal question relating to what accommodations WGU will make for your disability, and it is doubtful that an admission counselor will have a clue. If the medication in question is legal under both federal and state laws, I would imagine you have a strong case for an accommodation under the ADA and state disability laws.
  4. by   JD2RN
    Also, if you are talking about medical marijuana, which is currently still illegal under federal law (for now), you might look at this recent case for guidance:

    A Potential P[l]ot Twist for Medical Marijuana and the ADA | Employment Law Lookout
  5. by   meanmaryjean
    If you are talking about marijuana (and I suspect you are from the carefully-phrased description of the federally illegal substance), it is going to be a 'no' from all clinical sites.

    If you are talking about FDA-approved prescription drugs, that does indeed change the picture.
  6. by   AldreaFalan
    No ma'am, not medical marijuana (not legal in my state), just medications that won't pass a drug screen- Adderall for an example. Very legal and very boring, even considered low dosages.

    Thank you for the information, I will do that. I just don't want to waste time and energy busting my ass to wrap up prerequisites if there's no chance at all at school. I want this. Badly. Being an ER tech is a blast... but um... it also sucks. Haha I want my blue scrubs! 😉
  7. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from AldreaFalan
    No ma'am, not medical marijuana (not legal in my state), just medications that won't pass a drug screen- Adderall for an example. Very legal and very boring, even considered low dosages.

    Thank you for the information, I will do that. I just don't want to waste time and energy busting my ass to wrap up prerequisites if there's no chance at all at school. I want this. Badly. Being an ER tech is a blast... but um... it also sucks. Haha I want my blue scrubs! ������
    "Passing a drug sceen" means you can demonstrate that the substances in your system are legally prescribed for you. It does NOT mean there is nothing in your system. Take your valid prescription with you to the testing center.
  8. by   AldreaFalan
    Sorry to sound so vague and suspicious- simply being overly cautious as nothing on the internet is private.

    Although my current employer (I work as an ER tech) allowed my hiring to go forward once I supplied all the needed proof and paperwork of up to date, legal medications, I'd still not want a passerby who happened to be a co-worker to recognize me and make assumptions about my private medical conditions.

    *It's a small world after all!* (Edit: musical note emojis don't show on these boards. Haha Good to know.)
    Last edit by AldreaFalan on Apr 26 : Reason: Emoji characters did not show properly
  9. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from AldreaFalan
    Sorry to sound so vague and suspicious- simply being overly cautious as nothing on the internet is private.

    Although my current employer (I work as an ER tech) allowed my hiring to go forward once I supplied all the needed proof and paperwork of up to date, legal medications, I'd still not want a passerby who happened to be a co-worker to recognize me and make assumptions about my private medical conditions.

    *It's a small world after all!* (Edit: musical note emojis don't show on these boards. Haha Good to know.)
    Well, if your username is your actual name- that would be kind of not cool. Just sayin'
  10. by   AldreaFalan
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    "Passing a drug sceen" means you can demonstrate that the substances in your system are legally prescribed for you. It does NOT mean there is nothing in your system. Take your valid prescription with you to the testing center.
    I honestly did not understand that distinction. Thank you so much for that clarification!

    This whole issue came to my attention while browsing another nursing forum- someone had been kicked out of their program for a drug test "failure". Maybe they simply didn't disclose the medications they were on (or it was a different substance they did not want to admit to on the forum).

    I am just concerned that my medications would either: prevent my admission all together or- make me a less desirable candidate vs someone else with identical grades and experience.

    You have eased my mind some, but this does sound like it's definately worth a phone call at the least to be sure, or make ADA arrangements to protect myself.

    Thank you.
  11. by   AldreaFalan
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    Well, if your username is your actual name- that would be kind of not cool. Just sayin'
    Haha No, it's not. But the world of the internet being what it is, I tend towards being more careful than less.
  12. by   Magnanimity
    My friend was on Adderall during nursing school and has been working as a nurse for the past four years also on Adderall. If the medication is prescribed to you with a therapeutic purpose then you are in the clear. Have to be honest and upfront on the questioners and interview thats all.
    Good Luck!
  13. by   drd18
    Quote from AldreaFalan
    I honestly did not understand that distinction. Thank you so much for that clarification!

    This whole issue came to my attention while browsing another nursing forum- someone had been kicked out of their program for a drug test "failure". Maybe they simply didn't disclose the medications they were on (or it was a different substance they did not want to admit to on the forum).

    I am just concerned that my medications would either: prevent my admission all together or- make me a less desirable candidate vs someone else with identical grades and experience.

    You have eased my mind some, but this does sound like it's definately worth a phone call at the least to be sure, or make ADA arrangements to protect myself.

    Thank you.
    We do drug testing at my current work and as long as you have a CURRENT prescription with your name on it, regardless of the drug, you will be cleared. If admitted, remember to be extra careful throughout the program to keep up to date prescriptions with your current name and address (random drug tests DO happen) and ALWAYS disclose before you take the test that you are on a medication that will show on the test. I have heard of labs that even if you can produce a prescription after you failed, if you didn't disclose ahead of time you will still be failed.

    And I would assume it is extremely illegal for a program to pick another candidate over you solely based on your prescriptions. That's discrimination! Besides, you are offered conditional acceptance before you even take the drug test and as long as you follow proper protocol to show proof, they will not revoke your acceptance for that reason. Good luck!
  14. by   AldreaFalan
    Quote from drd18
    We do drug testing at my current work and as long as you have a CURRENT prescription with your name on it, regardless of the drug, you will be cleared. If admitted, remember to be extra careful throughout the program to keep up to date prescriptions with your current name and address (random drug tests DO happen) and ALWAYS disclose before you take the test that you are on a medication that will show on the test. I have heard of labs that even if you can produce a prescription after you failed, if you didn't disclose ahead of time you will still be failed.

    And I would assume it is extremely illegal for a program to pick another candidate over you solely based on your prescriptions. That's discrimination! Besides, you are offered conditional acceptance before you even take the drug test and as long as you follow proper protocol to show proof, they will not revoke your acceptance for that reason. Good luck!
    Thank you! The most current policy handbook from WGU that I could find sounded.... not so understanding. It stated something along the lines of: that if during a clinical setting your instructor felt you showed symptoms of being "under the influence" of *any* substance, the symptoms listed stretching from runny nose and a flushed face (those and a few others seemed a little ridiculous to me) to the nornal pinpoint/dilated pupils, that you would be removed from the clinical, drug tested immediately, face disciplinary action, etc.

    Obviously if someone was on say, such a high dose of opiates they couldn't think straight or had slurred speech, that's one thing- and clearly dangerous. But I really hoped that while reading the policy that it was an example of an extreme case: undisclosed medication use, illegal substance use, abuse of prescription medication to the point of impairment, things along those lines- and not already disclosed, safely used, legal prescriptions. But I just did not know for sure.

    At the same time I just could not imagine that WGU's nursing students -ever- were ALL magically free of depression, ADD/ADHD, chronic pain, migraines, neuropathy, seasonal allergies, common colds, etc... I am glad I asked here, as my anxiety had definitely been getting the better of me the last few days.

    Thank you all.
    Last edit by AldreaFalan on Apr 26

close