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Accused of Intoxication-HELP

Recovery   (1,850 Views 22 Comments)
by Awhite24 Awhite24 (New Member) New Member Nurse

137 Visitors; 8 Posts

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Hi all-

i was accused of being intoxicated at work- glassy eyes-I burned my sclera in an artificial tanning bed, first time user. I had taken fioricet the night before for a bad migraine. I submitted a drug test which was negative but for proven legal fioricet. My manager still believes I was intoxicated. I have been on leave for two weeks, occ health finally cleared me with my doctors calling and confirming I take this medication for bad migraines and will not take it st work. Now the safety nurse chief has to meet. Will there be disciplinary action? Will this be reported to the board?

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Persephone Paige has 15 years experience as a ADN and works as a Med-Surg.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 3,341 Visitors; 627 Posts

If you were already in a monitoring program, it would fly. If you aren't already in a monitoring program it's a bit more complicated then just 'accusing' someone. You may be terminated by your employer, but I doubt you'll be reported to BON. How in depth are these drug screens? Do they measure 'levels,' to see when you took the fioricet? 

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137 Visitors; 8 Posts

What do you mean a monitoring program? I am legally prescribed fioricet for 20 years. They looked at the levels and they were high, but I admitted to taken it the night before. The drug wears off in 4 hours I had my doctor write a letter saying I will not take this at work, or four hours before. A urinalysis doesn’t show current impairment just if you took something in the last few days- which I proved to be legally prescribed to. I’m just not sure my rights here or what will happen. 

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Persephone Paige has 15 years experience as a ADN and works as a Med-Surg.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 3,341 Visitors; 627 Posts

4 minutes ago, Awhite24 said:

What do you mean a monitoring program? I am legally prescribed fioricet for 20 years. They looked at the levels and they were high, but I admitted to taken it the night before. The drug wears off in 4 hours I had my doctor write a letter saying I will not take this at work, or four hours before. A urinalysis doesn’t show current impairment just if you took something in the last few days- which I proved to be legally prescribed to. I’m just not sure my rights here or what will happen. 

A monitoring contract is when a nurse has either admitted to or been caught using drugs, they are 'monitored' with drugs screens and meetings for continued sobriety. Many of us here are in monitoring contracts and if we are accused of being intoxicated, they don't care if it's not true. They punish us, even if drug screens are negative.

They can tell exactly when a drug was consumed by the levels, half lifes, or whatever. So, as long as the levels measure up to when you told them you took the medication and it doesn't coincide with work hours, you should be good.

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137 Visitors; 8 Posts

Really? Even a drug taken by a doctor for a medical conditon? I am in no such program, just power through migraine days. So yes I’m getting terminated huh.  Everyone’s metabolisms are different though and concentration hydration of urine factors in if we are ng/ml talking, they can only tell that the drugs were consumed in a rough amount of recent time. Especially where half life can range from 3-7 days

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Persephone Paige has 15 years experience as a ADN and works as a Med-Surg.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 3,341 Visitors; 627 Posts

If you have a documented kidney 'clearance' issue, this would be the time to produce proof of it.

It's gonna depend on the person who reported you. If they are the type of person who is fine with saying, "hmm, I could've sworn, but okay." Then maybe everything will be cool. Employee health could take over too.

We are allowed to be prescribed mind and mood altering medications, but we are not allowed to show up for work under the influence. At best, they could question your judgment.

This is all experience related supposition on my part. Take it for what it's worth. I hope things work out for you.

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137 Visitors; 8 Posts

Thank you. I have been so anxious on investigatory leave, senses of relief that my drug test was negative except my proved fioricet script so it was reported negative and final clearance from occ health. Just seems they are putting me through the ringer with now meeting with the safety and quality nurse and I feel my manager can still give corrective action which may be discharge, or say he reported to bon. 

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Persephone Paige has 15 years experience as a ADN and works as a Med-Surg.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 3,341 Visitors; 627 Posts

All of my drugs were prescribed too.

The gray zone is "prescribed"

The black and white is if you were impaired. Or should have known you would still be under the influence when showing up for work. Now, if you are scheduled to work again in 12 hours, they can and will nail you for even a whiff of alcohol. In hind sight, you should've called in, taken your fioricet and stayed home. And that may well end up being their position on it.

 

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137 Visitors; 8 Posts

What happened to you?? What was the whole process?

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Persephone Paige has 15 years experience as a ADN and works as a Med-Surg.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 3,341 Visitors; 627 Posts

6 minutes ago, Awhite24 said:

What happened to you?? What was the whole process?

I worked impaired and I got caught. I was referred to IPN and admitted I had a problem. I did not get sober until many years later though, and I'm in an IPN contract.

Each state is different... but rarely do they forgive a nurse for not realizing they were still under the influence, because that would mean they would just do it again. You may not be an addict, but if the labs confirm that you took the medication in close enough proximity to your shift that you would still be impaired, they are going to question your judgment.

You don't have to be an addict to get in trouble, you just have to fit their description of poor judgment.

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Persephone Paige has 15 years experience as a ADN and works as a Med-Surg.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 3,341 Visitors; 627 Posts

The pharmacy labels warn lay persons not to operate a vehicle, heavy equipment, etc... We are held to much higher standards. They will never believe us when we feign ignorance of the effects of medication.

 

I hope I am wrong. I know lots of impaired nurses who were ignored for years. Maybe you'll escape... But, know this: if you really have a problem and are just in denial at this point, it will happen again. If by chance this is all truly a temporary lapse in judgment, learn from it and never do it again. 

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137 Visitors; 8 Posts

Any discipline or write up by your facility? Thank you for all your insight. Just a migraine getter that doesn’t like to call out, unfortunately. 

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