Failed drug test, getting reported to BON

  1. I recently failed a drug test because I had took some tylenol/codeine the night before for my migraines since my sumatriptan was not working. I don't have proof of prescription for this because I had gotten this while on vacation outside of the USA. And this med was pretty much OTC since no script was need by the pharmacy. I was on this medication for a week for my second degree burn. I had some leftover and took it to help with the migraines. I completely forgot about the medication and stupidly did the drug test. I was informed I would be reported to the BON. I started reading about what will happen to me and it sounds horrible. All the horror stories about going through their rehab program and spending outrageous amounts of money while unable to be employed. I talked to a lawyer and he say if I am not working now to just go ahead with the program *(TnPAP) or if I can work, continue to work until the BON contact me. Eventually, the BON would require me to go through the rehab program anyways. He commented that the program is horrible and sometimes there are to end in sight. And also, while in the program I am not allowed to work. I don't know what to do. I don't know if I can put up with going to rehab for this mistake because all I can think of is I don't have a drug issue. And I am the sole provider since my parents are unable to work due to medical issues. I just feel so lost and upset.

    Also, I was told to self report because it looks better that way. I really don't know if that would change anything. Some people were saying not to do it. The lawyer wasn't much help in helping me decide since it was just a free consultation.

    Don't know what to do. I feel like giving up and probably just start over with a new career or something. Which is also another hurdle of its own, starting over from ground 1. At the moment I'm pretty much mourning the lost of my job and possibly license. What do you guys think?
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    About troubledrn12

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 12; Likes: 14
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience


  3. by   catsmeow1972
    First question, was this a general practice lawyer or one whose specialty is license defense law? For something like this, I doubt any attorney who does license defense would tell you to throw yourself on the fire like that. That person gave you some very wrong, very damaging advice.
    Second question (actually statement/my opinion) I would not do any self reporting or submitting to any type of evaluation until you speak with an attorney that actually knows about this. Check those nursing quarterly newspapers we all get. The ones you want advertise there. You may still have to ‘self report' but if done through an attorney, the damage may be much much less. If you can scrape together the funds for an attorney, do it. ASAP
    Third, I would not wait around for the board to contact you because than this becomes public. I promise you, you do not want that.
    Fourth, don't give up. You can get through this.
  4. by   Randomnurse3
    Just curious...Why were you asked to drug test in the first place?
  5. by   troubledrn12
    I was applying for a new job.
  6. by   troubledrn12
    Hey Cat,

    1. It was the professional license defense lawyer. Are you referring to his advice about either submitting to the program voluntarily now or wait until what the BON rain down on me? He thinks that BON was already notified since I was notified and told that I will be reported yesterday. And it was the new job's HR person that told me to 'write a nice letter to the BON and self report.' So he believe that the self-reporting isn't going to really help the situation. I pretty much know that since it's a positive drug test I will be required to be in this rehab thing. But he told me to decide what I want to do and asked to meet face to face to further discuss and weight my options. Pretty much hire him then we'll talk more.

    2. I'm considering to have an attorney in this matter to see how punitive the damage is before I give up. If I can't work for a few years and have to go through a crazy rehab program, I rather give up my license or something. I don't even know what giving up my license entail, but I guess I'll find out soon.

    3. So that means I should self report after I retained the attorney? He thinks I have some time before the BON contact me, but who knows.

    4. Thanks for the words of encouragement
  7. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    Oh Boy I'm so sorry.

    Well first things first. In my asinine nurse support meeting there is a woman who took a leftover pain pill from an old dental procedure. She had no history of drug or alcohol abuse and got stuck in our stupid meat grinder of a monitoring program in Pennsylvania. Most likely you will also if your state is anything like ours. I don't know the particulars of the rules in your state but we are usually allowed to return to work after about six months regardless of the offense as its a one size fits all program. So you shouldn't be barred from work for 5 years but a lesser eternity I would think. I agree with Cats you need to retain legal counsel well versed in the program from your state and follow his or her advice.

    I imagine every lousy thing you have heard about these programs is right on the money. They are simply horrible In every way & I really don't know what else to say about that generally. However, you are in a forum of survivors. People in this room have been in the same position you are in and suffered all the BS these unfeeling imbecilic Nazis have thrown at them. We are not ubernurses just folks like you and you too can be a survivor. Know that you are in a fight for your professional life and if you do what is necessary you can survive this. My thought are will you fellow nurse and know you came to the right place for a kind ear and hopefully some good advice.

    Good Luck & Godspeed
  8. by   Randomnurse3
    I would not self report. Maybe the human resources lady was just telling you that so you would report yourself so she wouldn't have to. Either way I would take my chances and not report until you know for a fact that someone has reported you to the BON.
  9. by   troubledrn12
    Thanks guys. I talked to another professional license defense lawyer and he suggest that I not self report as to not stir the pot. He thinks I should just wait for the official contact by BON and then have a lawyer then. However, he doesn't practice in my state, his partner who does practiced in my state was not available at that moment to answer questions, so he doesn't know if my state require mandatory self reporting or not. I was trying to look it up but can't find any info on that yet.

    Hopefully my state is lenient on non addicts and first time offense. I've told my current employer what's going on and she's very supportive and is hoping for the best.
  10. by   Lisacar130
    In my state, the only way for the discipline to not be public is to self report... and you have to do it right away for it to count.
  11. by   troubledrn12
    I have no idea if my state is the same and I don't know how to really fine out. It's TN. Call BON ?? I might just have an anxiety attack.
  12. by   Lisacar130
    Repost with Tennessee in the title and maybe someone has experience in your state.
  13. by   catsmeow1972
    Quote from Lisacar130
    Repost with Tennessee in the title and maybe someone has experience in your state.
    ^^^this...and I would not use HR as a reliable source of advice on "writing a nice letter " to the BON. I have found that "they" as a government appointed whatever organization don't see us or any other nurse as an individual. Rather we are but another license number. Groveling to them in Letter form is probably an anxiety producing and not too helpful endeavor.

    Not sure how this would pan out but maybe start the self reporting bit but not agree to any kind of "evaluation" or sign anything, until you've talked to an in state attorney. I may be wrong but I think in some states there is a shall we say "punishment lite" for those who've no evidence of addiction, etc. I suppose I am thinking (maybe wishfully) that maybe your state's program is run a tad more ethically than some.

    I dunno. I'm sure someone here has experience with Tn's program and can help you more than my idle musings.....

    Please keep us posted.....and this will work out. You are not the first to have this happen to and will not be the last.....
  14. by   troubledrn12
    I was wondering if self reporting and voluntarily go to TnPAP before BON order has a better outcome. As in not having any public marking on my license. Either way, I kinda feel like, eventually I will be submitted to TnPAP whether I want to or not to save my license. Part of me wants to get this over with so I don't have to live in anxiety every day. But this rational side of me also say work as much as I can, since I am able to with current job, and wait to see what the board say. Maybe, by the act of a miracle, I won't be enlisted in a run of the mill one-size-fit all punishment. I dont know. I've been reading my State's Nurse practice Act and didn't really see any rules for mandatory self report. But I could be wrong, I've been having some horrible migraines and my new prescription isn't helping. I tried taking excedrin in addition to the fioricet, which was a bad idea in this situation because the caffeine sends my body into a crazy anxiety state. But it's either severe pain where I can't even open my eyes and get out of bed or crazy anxiety that makes me jump off he bed.