Florida IPN and etG/etS screenings

  1. Currently faced w presenting to the Fl BON for failure to complete an intensive inpt program. Without all the details, I sought help for an addictions problem voluntarily & spent several days in detox. On return to work, I was told I had to sign an IPN contract to remain employed at Shands Hospital, where was employed in excellent standing for 18 yrs. I signed, thinking I'd be monitored & allowed to return to work w/o further issue. I was naive. I spent 30 days at Florida Recovery Center, owned by Shands. At 2 wks my insurance stopped paying; however, I was certain FRC would allow me to remain in tx regardless, as an 18 yr employee in good standing (at their own facility) who had come in voluntarily. BEYOND naive. Not only would they not allow me to "complete" tx or clear me to return to work after 30 days, they d/c'ed me and reported to the BON that I left AMA (!). Finally, the point: While in inpt tx, I had a pos etG test of 40; while this is insanely low, 0-25 is WNL, & anything >25 is considered pos for ETOH. I can only guess it was due to incidental exposure, as I was using products like hairspray, perfume, & Sinex. (All of which were cleared as ok by their MD). The question: Does anyone know what Fl IPN uses as cutoffs for lab values w etG/etS? I can't deal w the idea that every day of my life for 5 yrs, I could inadvertently expose myself to ETOH & fail a test. So, does anyone know what cutoff values are used? Often labs use 100 or even 500, but I have the feeling that won't be the case w IPN. I'm seriously considering surrendering my license, as depressing as that is. Any info or ANY experiences w IPN are much appreciated! Incidentally, I have retained an attorney to negotiate w the BON.
    Last edit by gingerplum on Oct 11, '12
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    About gingerplum

    Joined: Oct '12; Posts: 3


  3. by   SouthernPoint
    Sorry to hear about everything. But I know that IPN's cut off's are very low.

    If you are being 100% true to yourself and you recovery than you are going to do everything you need to do to keep yourself moving forward in life then the lab values shouldn't be a question nor a concern. If being a Nurse is what you want to do then you will jump through the IPN Hoolahoop as they are tossed your direction. Even if that means no hairspray, perfume or anything that has the smallest amount of Alochol in it.

    About the FRC and the BON. It honestly sounds like you are going to need to contact an Attorney who Deals with Nurse's and the BON.

    Wishing you the best of luck
  4. by   gingerplum
    The crux of the issue is, it's neither that simple or easy. It's not even about the cosmetic stuff, per se,even though that's really, really important to me; it's about being held to unrealistic and unreasonably high expectations. Unfortunately, being "100% true to myself" can't guarantee inadvertent incidental exposure to ETOH.

    Taking away my fragrances, which are somewhere between hobby and obsession for me? That's a crushing blow. Not being able to eat sushi because there's rice wine vinegar mixed with sticky rice, and the soy sauce is fermented? We're getting into pretty Draconian territory here.

    Incidental contact with ETOH is inevitable. Just about every liquid product that contains sugar also contains some amount of ethanol. Even breathing vapor of ethyl alcohol in topical products can cause a positive EtG. Alcohol can be produced by the body even with consumtion of yeast (such as baker’s yeast) and sugar (such as in drinks or foods), metabolized into EtG and EtS. One study showed that EtG was produced after consumption of ripe fruits and soda. That alone leaves ample room for concern.

    So, that's why I'm fishing for specific thresholds for IPN lab values. I can easily commit to not drinking, but I refuse to spend 5 yrs living in apprehension and fear about some absurd zero tolerance for everyday environmental contact. Even if I could survive on room air, I'd have to worry about contaminants. I'm also speculating that IPN cutoffs are "very low," but I'm hoping someone has experience with specific values.

    As stated previously, I have retained an attorney who specializes in this area of practice.
    Last edit by gingerplum on Oct 11, '12
  5. by   wish_me_luck
    gingerplum, I am in Virginia, but I know what you are going through. I am in my program for mental illness and alcohol abuse. I get drug screened because of my alcohol abuse, possibly being alcoholic. I, too, am afraid of incidental exposure and also, loved my salon quality hair supplies (which contains a lot of alcohol/ethanol/ethyl containing ingredients) and fragrances. But, as much as I loved all that, I love my nursing license more. I do live in fear that I will test positive because of incidental exposure. I have cut down to the bare minimum to be clean. If you are washing up properly, you shouldn't stink. I will admit you won't have that pretty fragrance smell, but you will be clean and not stink.

    You have to either ingest an ethyl containing substance or inhale it. So, what I do is find products that don't list alcohol/ethanol/ethyl in the ingredients and if it has a fragrance (which is what a lot of the alcohol is for and for freshness), then I either turn away when using or I hold my breath until most of the exposure has past just in case there is a substance that has it in it that I didn't know about. I try to space out when I do laundry too (I think detergent has it in it too) just so if I do get exposed, it's not as much as if I did several loads. For my face, when it's pretty oily, I take a paper towel and water it down and add salt to it. Then, gently wipe my face with it. It seems to work okay. A lot of acne and face washes have ethanol containing products in it. I know it doesn't go through skin, but they add the fragrance to it.

    There was a time that I thought about wearing a mask when dealing with ethyl/ethanol/alcohol containing products, so I could maybe still use them, but minimize exposure. I haven't done it, so I don't know how it would turn out, but it's a thought.

    Also, if you turned in your license, would you really not feel regret? Especially since it's over beauty products. I have heard that once you turn in your license, if you want it back, it can be difficult to get back. Do you have a back up plan as far as a job/career? Those are some things you need to think about. Don't do anything rash.
  6. by   gingerplum
    Hey Wish Me Luck. Thanks for your understanding. Again, it's not entirely about the products, even though my resentment at having to give them up is huge, but about spending 5 yrs living in fear and anxiety over a possible positive test. It's about complying with something I find outrageously unreasonable.

    However, I am vain, and I do color my hair, which means breathing in alcohol-saturated products every 2 wks. At 42, I'm prematurely gray, and otherwise still very young looking. No room for compromise on this one.

    I would absolutely feel regret about giving up my license. Fortunately I have a husband who makes a six-figure salary; still we'd be giving up a LOT that we're used to.

    I'm thinking about trying the IPN program, while going back to school for something else where my background as a nurse would be an assest, such as paralegal. I figure the 5 yrs is going to pass regardless of what I do, and I should at least make an effort to save my license.

    Anyone reading have ANY idea what IPN is using for lab thresholds for this testing? Florida or otherwise? It would really ease my mind to know, thanks!
  7. by   jmo1231
    Ginger plum, I think to answer your questiion about cutoff levels you would have to call and ask the lab specifically what levels they use. Different labs use different levels. If you google ETG/ETS urine testing it will come up with different values depending on lab. Good luck with your sobriety and fighting the BON. If you put sobriety first and take one day at a time the issues mentioned above will work out but it will require alot of effort ,petserverance,and patience on your part to overcome these challenges. Sounds like the BON is testing you and challenging you? That's how I would approach this and I would want to win. I have been in the PA program for a year now without any issues so far. As long as you stay sober and follow the rules it will be fine. I have a friend who went to jail for dilute urines which were not tampered with but it's part of her drug program outside of the BON program she's involved in. She is staying the course , staying in both programs, and is determined to finish. Good luck Irish whatever you decide.
  8. by   SouthernPoint
    It doesn't matter what lab you have your UDS done at IPN has it OWN set of values. Those values are normally lower than the Lab's values.. But either way, IPN is not going to just advertise those values.. Like I said before, If you are 100% into your recovery and you are 100% into keeping your license.. Then you are going to do WHATEVER you need to do.. I have been dealing with IPN for 4 years now and I have NEVER seen anyone in my area come back with a positive screen that wasn't really positive.. I know of a couple of nurses who are total girly girls and they do the hair & make up thing and they have never had a positive screen.. Now I am not saying that it's not possible, I am just saying they have never had one..

    Worrying yourself over something that you have no control over is slightly pointless.. Yeah, it's a complete PIA to have someone else dictate your life for 5 years, But that is the price that we have to pay for our issue's..

    I have had my own issue's with IPN and the BON and trust me.. Fighting either one of them is NOT the answer.. Sometimes one just has to put on a new set of boots and deal with the cards they were just handed..

    Anyways, I wish you the best of luck in your recovery and journey..
  9. by   jmo1231
    Well said Southern Point! I strongly agree.Personally, when it comes to the BON state by state they all have their own rules. It really doesn't matter if what our fears, concerns, dislikes or likes are for the rules. We have to follow them or surrender our license. Its really that simple. I have had some issues as well with BON including not being able to take a very lucrative job. They wouldn't approve it and I had to find another job. I did and it worked out but wasn't to pleased at the time. There rules there decision. Anyway, that's the price I pay for making poor decisions in the past. 2 years left and counting but I am a better , stronger, person today.!!
  10. by   LisaB19
    I attended the IPN conference in Orlando last year. I spoke directly with the Lab Corp guru who stated their cutoff is 500. He also said they also run EtS along with the EtG which is supposed to help eliminate false positives. In my year in the program I never heard once of someone having a false positive versus when I was in CA it was constant issue.
  11. by   SouthernPoint
    Quote from LisaB19
    I attended the IPN conference in Orlando last year. I spoke directly with the Lab Corp guru who stated their cutoff is 500. He also said they also run EtS along with the EtG which is supposed to help eliminate false positives. In my year in the program I never heard once of someone having a false positive versus when I was in CA it was constant issue.
    I understand you state you spoke with someone from Lab Corp, But the information that was given to you is INCORRECT.. Urine/Blood Alcohol Levels are Measured in ng/mL, Which are 0.0's.. Like Florida Legal Alcohol Level is 0.08.. So if this person told you 500 (where is the decimal?) Honestly it doesn't matter.. A UAL/BAL of 500 is leathal, no matter where the decimal is..

    IPN's level is Much Lower, Much Lower..

    If IPN & the BON wanted everyone to know what the Lab Cutoff's are don't you think they would have supplied that information in everyone's contract?

    IPN & the BON don't want people to know what the Lab Cutoff's are.. This way it's more of a surprise to those who try to Cheat the system..
    Last edit by SouthernPoint on Oct 14, '12
  12. by   wish_me_luck
    I think it is 100 ng/mL to us; found something online, not 500. And yes, you can get a false positive because I came across product lists that explains the amounts of ethyl/ethanol in it and if enough is added up, then you can test positive. SP, it's in ng/mL not the same units as BAC (mg and it is in %). Also, pee tests pick up ethyl use, not ethanol specifically. I think blood is specific.
  13. by   1busymaniam
    Good luck to you in your future. I scanned all the responses and don't think anyone mentioned hand gel. Yes you can inadvertantly inhale the fumes and then test positive. Yahoo has a big group that can be very informative.