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Ordered into InSnap for taking benzos as prescribed?

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Melbot77 Melbot77 (New) New

Hi all.

I'm an RN/BSN who recently transferred her license to IN. I have some complex health conditions (including epilepsy) which require me to take Klonopin, a benzo. We have tried all other alternatives, and a low dose of Klonipin is the only thing that works.

TN never cared about my prescribed meds. IN, however, has asked me to stop taking the med an enter INSNAP as an impaired nurse?!?!. I just retained a lawyer for $4100, and she's telling me I might be able to keep my license without doing INSNAP if I turn over years of medical records, take a series of tests that prove I'm mentally competent and not a substance abuser, and comply with random drug testing.

I am about to relinquish my license. How can this even be legal?

I'm confused...were you in a monitoring program before your Klonopin use was discovered? Or are you in trouble for just using it? Do you have a prescription for it from your doctor?

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 19 years experience.

I'm confused...were you in a monitoring program before your Klonopin use was discovered? Or are you in trouble for just using it? Do you have a prescription for it from your doctor?

Like Ocean I am curious what brought this to the attention of the BRN in your state. Were you already under investigation for impaired practice? If so you should be able to show that your benzo use is approved by your neurologist for seizure control. If however you are using more than the prescribed amount or the safety of your practice has been called into question then you would be wise to keep the lawyer your retained and not be railroaded out of your livelihood.

hppy

aflahe00

Specializes in Med/surg/ortho. Has 7 years experience.

This doesn't make sense to me. you don't get yourself into insnap for taking your prescribed medicine as prescribed. Nurses who have been to work impaired or nurses who have diverted narcotics from their workplace. Something had to have happened there was some event which caused you to be reported.

How did they find out? They don't ask that on your application. Very confusing on how they found out. The only people I have ever disclosed my meds to is my employee health when I did my preemployment physical and they were fine with my meds as I took them prescribed.

My sympathies--I know how some Boards are. Yes, there may be more to the story, but, no matter what went down, I am sorry you're having to go through this.

First, don't surrender your license. I'm going to assume you worked just as hard for yours as I did for mine; don't throw it away for no good reason.

Second, I know lots of people take pain pills, sleeping pills, or anxiolytics on occasion, but, in my experience, nursing boards don't want to be seen as allowing impaired nurses to practice. I realize people believe their "tolerance" of these meds gives them an out on the "impaired" part of the equation, but no amount of "tolerance" for vodka will suffice as an excuse for why it's OK for you to have a drink on your lunch break--and it won't work with controlled medications, either, not with the Board. Nursing boards' primary responsibility is to the public, and with all the prescription drug abuse in this country they aren't going to want to condone nurses' use of controlled meds (possibly/theoretically) on the job. Now, sometimes exceptions are made with physician intervention, but it really depends on the state and the circumstances. I'm not saying you shouldn't try, just that you need to be prepared for the "no" that you will probably get.

Finally, I don't know the specifics of your story, but at the end of the day the question has to be: Can I live without this medication? If the answer is an unequivocal No, then one of two things is likely to be true (from where I sit, anyway): 1) You haven't adequately explored all the other options, or 2) You are dependent on this medication, for whatever reason, and maybe that is something you should be taking a good hard look at.

At any rate, I wish you the best of luck...this might turn out to be a long, hard road, but lots of people have made it down this path. Some, myself included, have found that the kind of horror show you're currently in actually has a really, really happy ending. Just sayin.' Hang in there. :)

annabanana2

Has 2 years experience.

2) You are dependent on this medication, for whatever reason, and maybe that is something you should be taking a good hard look at.

I mean, yeah, OP is dependent on that medication to not have seizures. I mean, good lord. Do you tell diabetics to take a good hard look at their insulin dependence? Jeez.

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

The fact that OP has not returned makes me think there is MUCH more to the story.

The fact that OP has not returned makes me think there is MUCH more to the story.

Isn't there always?

I mean, yeah, OP is dependent on that medication to not have seizures. I mean, good lord. Do you tell diabetics to take a good hard look at their insulin dependence? Jeez.

Absolutely. I mean, really, diabetics. Always whining about how they could "lapse into a coma," or "die." Why I've known diabetics who wouldn't even leave the house without a ready supply of their dope right there with them. What wussies.

Klonopin is rarely used as a primary drug for epilepsy--it has very, very limited uses, mostly in atypical seizures; and, generally speaking, it is much more useful as an adjunct med than as a monotherapy. There are so many anti-seizure meds, though, that OP's statement that "low dose Klonopin is the only thing that works" just doesn't quite pass the sniff test for me. I wish it did, but it doesn't. If s/he can provide documentation of this, as the lawyer advised, then there is a chance the monitoring program will permit OP to continue using it while working; although, honestly, even WITH supporting documentation from a neurologist it really isn't likely. Monitoring programs play hardball.

The problem with Klonopin is that it is a drug of abuse, and that one simple fact is going to make a monitoring program take a dim view of its use--unless the OP's physician can provide proof (not just OP's word) that no other medication is effective; just like you always find something in "the very last place" you looked (because, let's face it, once you've found it, why would you keep looking?), you stop trying medications as soon as you find one that works for you. I'm sure OP can explore other medications--and, frankly, OP is going to have to do just that if s/he wants to continue practice, unless some kind of miracle happens. If OP isn't willing to try, then OP is perhaps more wedded to a substance than s/he would like to admit. Is all I was saying.

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR. Has 15 years experience.

i agree that must be more to this story. First, as someone above said, OP has not returned. Second, there are many other options out there, and third even if "it's the only thing that works, I find it hard to believe that "TN never cared about my meds before." Based on that logic, all sorts of things that make a person impaired (not just for nursing but otherwise too.)could be justified. Given that these programs expect us to come out with all sorts of info that should be private between doc and patient. I had some surgery and the hoops I had to jump through just to prove why I needed pain medication for it ('cause you know having your guts rearranged and needing more than an aspirin, you just a wuss.) I happen to take a seizure med that makes a pee test pop for PCP (that was a shocker when i found that out) but as part of a nice little cocktail, I do very well on it. I also question how OP even came to the attention of ISNAP anyway?

I find it odd that TN would even have a need to know.