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Bad messed up

Posted
by pcbeachbum pcbeachbum (New) New

I am an RN in Florida. I was caught taking five 0.5 mg Xanax from work (on camera). I have a prescription for them but took them from the Pyxis system. I was terminated, arrested and charged with 2 felonies (grand Larceny and Possession of a controlled substance without a prescription). I just bailed out and got home. I am exhausted, devastated and lost. I don't know what came over me to do such a stupid thing. I have never been in trouble before. The Administration at the hospital told me to self report to the BON. I do not have money to hire a lawyer and will have to use a public defender. I am wondering about others that have been through this or similar. Im hoping to plea the charges to misdemeanors. I HAVE to work and make a living. I am single with 2 daughters. Any information or ideas would be so helpful. Thank you all so much. Please don't judge. It was my drug of choice to self soothe :(

pcbeachbum,

I would think even with a lawyer, you won't get too far. You were caught stealing drugs which aren't yours, which is huge.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

Give up your license and move on.

Ok, first of don't listen to anyone that says give up your license. I don't want to use any insults. Second, if this is your 1st offense then the likely hood of you going to jail or even getting the felony charge is slim to non. Again, not a lawyer buy 1st time offenses will land you on probation or some adjucation where you have to pay the state some money, do drug test and so on. The same will happen with your license, you have to pay your state board money, get a board order and do a 3 to 5 year deal with drug testing, counseling or whatever the require. At the end of it all, you will spend money.

***I'm speaking from a Texas view point, I've yet to see a revocation of license if the nurse complies with the board rules.

Excuse me who are these people telling you to give up your license and/or trying to make you feel worse? They don't belong on this forum as they obviously are not in recovery and are not being helpful to you at all.

I'm from Illinois, and I know a nurse in my recovery group who was charged with 4 felonies for taking IV dilaudid and was found in her car passed out after work. Although she did hire 2 lawyers, one for the criminal charges and one for the BON, she did get the charges reduced/expunged and later when she went before the board, she got into our program where she won't have any public reprimand on her license (because she self reported) as long as she goes through a couple years of random drug tests. The felony charge will still show up on her criminal record for 5 years but then will go away, as I understand it. She's not going to be working as a nurse until after the 5 years are up. This is Illinois though I don't know how it is in FL. The most important thing is to get these charges reduced to misdemeanors or expunged, as a felony can hurt your chances of getting any job. You dont want a felony on your record. Self reporting is a must as the board will find out anyway and they often go easier on you if you self report. Report yourself ASAP as it's best to do it before the hospital does. Also, you'll want the board to see that the charges were reduced to misdemeanors so it's best to have the criminal part done before the board hearing. At least that is how it is here.

I still recommend hiring a lawyers or lawyers but even if you can't, you could still try to call around to find out what they charge and some give you a little free advice on the phone.

SororAKS, ADN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU/CCU, Open Heart OR Recovery, Etc. Has 12 years experience.

I would get a lawyer, even a public defender, for your criminal case. See if you can retain a different lawyer with experience dealing with the Board. If you self report to the program in your state, the possibilities of keeping your license are there. I did a similar thing a number of years ago. I did manage to make it through my monitoring program successfully, and last year got my license unsuspended. You can do this.

Thank you all so much for your kind words and encouragement. I have never been in trouble. I was a hospice nurse for 10 years. I started out taking Xanax to help with the emotional hardship. I then decided to go back into Med/Surg and take a break. The horrendous anxiety and panic attacks continued. I had a massive panick attack at work and that's why I took the medicine from the Med cart. I have an active prescription for the medication bit was still charged with Possession without a prescription. I don't have the funds for an attorney. I guess I will see about a Public Defender. Also any ideas anyone on what type of job I can do while waiting? Can I continue to work as an RN or would that not be advisable? Thank you all again so very much. Any information is appreciated.

Do NOT report to the board! Call IPN, which is the Florida peer assistance program. If you can show steps that you are getting help and doing what you are supposed to, it will look much better for you when it is time to go to court. The board will refer you to IPN anyway, but bypassing the board is always better for you. The BON is not your friend!

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR. Has 15 years experience.

Give up your license and move on.

How nice of you to be so supportive to someone who's already beating herself up over a mistake. As my mother used to tell me " if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"

Mavrick, BSN, RN

Specializes in 15 years in ICU, 22 years in PACU. Has 30 years experience.

How nice of you to be so supportive to someone who's already beating herself up over a mistake. As my mother used to tell me " if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"

Is being "catty" and sarcastic OK by mom's way of thinking huh?

Mavrick, BSN, RN

Specializes in 15 years in ICU, 22 years in PACU. Has 30 years experience.

I am an RN in Florida. I was caught taking five 0.5 mg Xanax from work (on camera). I have a prescription for them but took them from the Pyxis system. I was terminated, arrested and charged with 2 felonies (grand Larceny and Possession of a controlled substance without a prescription). I just bailed out and got home. I am exhausted, devastated and lost. I don't know what came over me to do such a stupid thing. I have never been in trouble before. The Administration at the hospital told me to self report to the BON. I do not have money to hire a lawyer and will have to use a public defender. I am wondering about others that have been through this or similar. Im hoping to plea the charges to misdemeanors. I HAVE to work and make a living. I am single with 2 daughters. Any information or ideas would be so helpful. Thank you all so much. Please don't judge. It was my drug of choice to self soothe :(

The BON will not care so much about you, your level of exhaustion, your need to make a living, find cheap legal advice or provide for your daughters. Your nursing license is a privilege bestowed upon you by people that have a huge responsibility to protect a vulnerable population. The BON is concerned about your ability to take proper precautions with regard to the safety of their public. That you would risk so much for so little is certainly a concern the BON will focus on.

Neither the BON nor this forum is a free counseling service. If you put your sad story on the internet, be prepared for any and all kinds of comments not just helpful platitudes or virtual hankies.

From personal experience I will tell you any discipline you receive from a BON will remain a PERMANENT red flag on your license for anyone to find using NURSYS. There will also be PDF's of the findings that will describe what you did and agreed to do to retain your license.

You are going to have to take responsibility and admit some hard truths to convince a Board that you should retain that license. Many people on this forum will tell you all about the hoops and hurdles you must navigate to stay in compliance with any number of "ridiculous demands" by the BON to keep that precious license.

OR you can give up your license, admit nothing, learn nothing and find some other way to make a living.

You still do have choices. Make getting a BON savvy lawyer one of them.

Edited by Mavrick

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR. Has 15 years experience.

Is being "catty" and sarcastic OK by mom's way of thinking huh?

Maybe that came out wrong. I just think telling someone to give up like that is a bit harsh. There are options. There are certainly some hard choices ahead and there most certainly will be consequences. I just think prudent counsel is that it's too soon to just walk away.

Edited by catsmeow1972

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

Try contacting the Bar Association in your state. They may be able to give you referrals for someone who will work with you and your limited resources. Good luck.

Please call Ipn asap. It is called the intervention project for nurses. You can find the number online. You could save your career. Many counties in florida also have drug court programs that will seal your felonies if you complete the program. I know this seems impossible right now but it will hopefully get easier as it did with me.

The BON will probably not want you working with controlled substances while on probation. I worked with a nurse who was busted for diverting and using Demerol. She had to go to rehab and 2 years of probation. She worked in a blood mobile. She was already an amazing IV starter. I think her experience made her stronger and a better nurse.

Well, that you have admitted your mistake without making excuses is commendable. So many people aren't willing to do that, and you have my admiration for having the guts to come on here and be so honest. You need to ask your public defender to get you into a pretrial intervention program. I am in Florida also and I knew someone about 8 years ago who was arrested for two felony drug possession and the first thing he did was immediately find and get into an outpatient rehab program. His attorney told him it was gonna be required anyway if he got into pretrial intervention, but it looked much better to take the intiative before being ordered to do it. I am not sure how long the outpatient rehab was, but it met like 4 days a week for maybe a few months...but anyway he graduated rehab. I know he also attended Narcotics Anonymous of his own initiative. When the court date finally came where the judge decided whether or not to put him in the pretrial program the judge saw he'd already done the rehab and the Narcotics Anonymous and was clean and seeking help. The judge agreed he was worthy to be put in pretrial intervention, plus community service and one year of probation that would end earlier if he finished all the requirements early. Rehab was already checked off so he had some other programs like classes of some kind I drove him to sometimes for the intervention aspect of the program. When he completed the program, community service, and probation the charges were outright dropped. Not adjudication witheld but DROPPED. My understanding is that's like it didn't happen. The key lesson I learned is that really good people do some dumb things, but there is hope. I thought the state was gonna hammer him down, but turns out they weren't looking to destroy him especially since he had not been in trouble before. As for the grand larceny charge, I'm sure they can come up with something. Looking up grand larceny in Florida I'm not sure how one alprazolam is worth $300 or more dollars. Finally, so far as the nursing license goes I am not sure how that works. I would take the advice to contact that IPN mentioned by a previous poster for that stuff. Stay strong, you still have so much to be thankful for, and the day will come when this will be behind you.

Edited by NunNurseCat

Don't give up your license, I believe you can go into diversion. I knew an RN who did and her license would have been suspended had she completed diversion (she wasn't ready to quit drinking.)

I live in a smallish town where a couple of nurses have popped into 12-step meetings for this, the one who stayed sober had her license restored with restrictions (I don't know how long they last.She obtained a job working in recovery.)

Don't beat yourself up too much and try not to judge yourself too harshly but be cautious about who you share with because plenty of people who never had a problem judge others. Dang, I had no insurance and never went to doctors when I was drinking and really wanted something to settle my nerves/shakes. After getting sober as a young waitress I heard the then retired doctor handed out anything so there was an upside to that. Best of luck to you, learning how to cope with life without mood-altering stuff can be done, you will meet many who do in meetings which would be good to start now.

Well, that you have admitted your mistake without making excuses is commendable. So many people aren't willing to do that, and you have my admiration for having the guts to come on here and be so honest. You need to ask your public defender to get you into a pretrial intervention program. I am in Florida also and I knew someone about 8 years ago who was arrested for two felony drug possession and the first thing he did was immediately find and get into an outpatient rehab program. His attorney told him it was gonna be required anyway if he got into pretrial intervention, but it looked much better to take the intiative before being ordered to do it. I am not sure how long the outpatient rehab was, but it met like 4 days a week for maybe a few months...but anyway he graduated rehab. I know he also attended Narcotics Anonymous of his own initiative. When the court date finally came where the judge decided whether or not to put him in the pretrial program the judge saw he'd already done the rehab and the Narcotics Anonymous and was clean and seeking help. The judge agreed he was worthy to be put in pretrial intervention, plus community service and one year of probation that would end earlier if he finished all the requirements early. Rehab was already checked off so he had some other programs like classes of some kind I drove him to sometimes for the intervention aspect of the program. When he completed the program, community service, and probation the charges were outright dropped. Not adjudication witheld but DROPPED. My understanding is that's like it didn't happen. The key lesson I learned is that really good people do some dumb things, but there is hope. I thought the state was gonna hammer him down, but turns out they weren't looking to destroy him especially since he had not been in trouble before. As for the grand larceny charge, I'm sure they can come up with something. Looking up grand larceny in Florida I'm not sure how one alprazolam is worth $300 or more dollars. Finally, so far as the nursing license goes I am not sure how that works. I would take the advice to contact that IPN mentioned by a previous poster for that stuff. Stay strong, you still have so much to be thankful for, and the day will come when this will be behind you.

I was wondering about the grand larceny also. I had heard of absurdly high mark-ups for hospital drugs but grand larceny in my state would be over $950. A 0.5mg Xanax >$400 each?