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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:31 pm 
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Hi Everybody,

I am brand new to the forum but need quick advice. I have been sober from all opiates for three years however. I succeded this by using a suboxone program. I have just been accepted into the nursing program at my university, I have met all of the requirements accept my physical which I am on a deadline to take. I have also been on a small dose of xanax for years for extreme anxiety that I have. I managed to get down to 4mg to 2mg a day of suboxone. I have to take a standard physical, I have been told they are not going to test for buprenex and that it will not show up. My Question is this...On this form I will definately disclose the xanax but should I also disclose the suboxone. I have heard that it will not show up on their test, but I have read so many things my head is spinning. I just need to know if I should put it on the form or not. If I do not and they find it, I still have a legal prescriptions for it. What do I do? Im not a gambler and I don't want to gamble my career on this. I am almost finished with this program and I will be done by the time I have to take my Nursing License. Will they or can they stop me from school for a legal prescription?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:32 pm 
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I'm sorry, but unless someone has been through the same situation in your same state, I don't think anyone can answer your questions. It's a judgment call that only you can decide. When I have a tough decision to make, I try to look ahead and figure out which option I will regret the least. And of course what you can live with. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. Good luck to you.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:22 pm 
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Well there really is no easy answere for this? In my eyes what life comes down too is being honest with not only yourself but the people who are around you. I understand you are scard but you either you tell them or you take the risk of takeing a drug test that might just show buprenorphine then you really are in a bad spot. The way i see it lieing on a serious form about any medication you are takeing is a bad idea i just dont see the reason you have to lie about it i guess is what im trying to say. and if there is a rule that would hold you back from getting in cause you are on sub than you might just not be ready to enter the program! But if you fell you have to lie about this too people i just dont understand that. Sure you dont have to go around telling the world you are on suboxone but if you are asked you should tell the truth.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:07 pm 
NJgirl, I hope you're checking for replies here. I just saw your post or I would have replied earlier. I hope I'm not too late to give you some food for thought regarding your situation.
First a disclaimer - I am not in the legal profession and nothing I say should be taken as legal advice in any way. I am not in your state, so I am not aware of what the particulars are of your state's Board of Nursing's rules when it comes to use of controlled substances and practicing as a licensed nurse (Registered Nurse or LPN.)
If you're interested in my history, you can do a search for posts written by me and if you go back to first several posts I made, you'll see what I have been through regarding my addiction to opiates and what it did to my career as an RN. I won't go into that here as it's a pretty long story, and a sad one at that!
I will respond to your questions and concerns based on my own personal experience and knowledge that I've gained along the way. Again, my experiences are based on how these things are handled in my particular state, although I'm pretty sure most states do have quite similar rules. First of all, I would advise you to look up your state BON's Nurse Practice Act and read it thoroughly. You may be able to get to it via the internet. If not, call the BON and ask how you can get a copy. Often the "Act" states clearly that nurses cannot practice while on any mind or mood altering substance. While I am a firm believer that buprenorphine does NOT qualify as mind or mood altering, the BON often disagrees. I'm pretty sure that Xanax would qualify as a drug that you would not be able to take while working, however, that's just an educated guess on my part. As far as your pre-nursing school physical and urine drug screen, of course, you should be in the clear on testing positive for benzos as you do have a legitimate Rx. As far as the Sub, I do not think it will show up on your test, again just a guess based on what I've often heard about it NOT showing up on standard drug screens.
Now, to the bigger issue.....to disclose or not to disclose? You have to follow your own instincts and do what you feel is right for you. Obviously the "best right" thing to do would be to disclose and let the chips fall where they may. If that is indeed what you choose to do, I wouldn't be surprised if they went ahead and let you into the program with notification that this "might be an issue after you graduate and go to sit for boards" or something along those lines. It is my understanding that what that means is something like this.......(I say this because I know someone who was in an almost identical situation and I can tell you what happened to her.) Before being allowed to take the state licensing exam there will be paperwork to be filled out which will ask things like "Have you ever had a substance abuse problem?" or "Have you ever had a DUI?" or "Have you ever been treated for alcoholism or addiction?" or "Do you have any history of psychiatric problems?".....stuff like that. Well, if you check 'yes' your application will be pulled and special permission will be required in order for you to sit for boards. In the particular case I mentioned, the person was allowed to sit for boards and upon passing the exam, was given a license with restrictions, the main one being that she was required to immediately enter the BON's "Peer Assistance Program." Different states call it different things but it's essentially a program for nurses with alcohol and/or drug problems. Most of the nurses in said programs are nurses who got in 'trouble' for diverting drugs from the workplace, falsifying prescriptions for themselves, working while impaired, getting a DUI and things like that. These programs are rough.....very, very strict, almost always complete abstinence-based, 12-step oriented and very restrictive. They require mounds of paperwork, multiple meetings to attend, restrictions in the workplace (if you're lucky enough to get a job while in the program.) Anyway....not fun....not fun at all!
Now, I am NOT saying that this is what will happen to you. I'm only saying that this or something similar could be a possibility. The ramifications of checking a 'yes' box can reach pretty far out there. Bear in mind that all these rules are in place to "protect the public." They're really not that interested in those of us with chemical dependency problems and they tend lump us all into the same category, even if you've been in recovery or only had one DUI and don't even meet a psychiatrist's diagnosis of 'alcoholic.' However, I defend the BON. As nurses we have to be held to a higher standard for obvious reasons. And, flawed as the programs may be, they are at least merciful enough to give nurses a second chance after royal screwups on our part.
Lastly, I would recommend that you think, pray, meditate, talk with a trusted person or a counselor before you enter into the field of nursing. Addiction and being in a medical profession isn't a good mix. And I'd hate to see you wind up in a mess. On the other hand, nursing is a wonderful profession and I loved it dearly and served it well for many, many years before I got addicted to opiates and lost everything. Just be as sure as you can be that your recovery is rock-solid!
I'll leave it at that. Oh, sorry, one other thing....there are attorneys who specialize in representing nurses before the BON. They are very knowlegable and could probably answer all your questions with accuracy. Consider a consult with one of them. It may be well worth it. I hope I haven't scared you to death. That wasn't my intention. I can tell you more if you're interested. Feel free to PM me if you'd like.
Best of luck to you regardless of what you decide and please, at least post a quick reply that you've received our responses. It's always disheartening to take a good deal of time to try to help someone and not ever know what happened or if you're words were even read!


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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 12:43 am 
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NJgirl405 wrote:
Hi Everybody,

I am brand new to the forum but need quick advice. I have been sober from all opiates for three years however. I succeded this by using a suboxone program. I have just been accepted into the nursing program at my university, I have met all of the requirements accept my physical which I am on a deadline to take. I have also been on a small dose of xanax for years for extreme anxiety that I have. I managed to get down to 4mg to 2mg a day of suboxone. I have to take a standard physical, I have been told they are not going to test for buprenex and that it will not show up. My Question is this...On this form I will definately disclose the xanax but should I also disclose the suboxone. I have heard that it will not show up on their test, but I have read so many things my head is spinning. I just need to know if I should put it on the form or not. If I do not and they find it, I still have a legal prescriptions for it. What do I do? Im not a gambler and I don't want to gamble my career on this. I am almost finished with this program and I will be done by the time I have to take my Nursing License. Will they or can they stop me from school for a legal prescription?



Hey NJ Girl. I don't know about New Jersey but in California anyone who works with direct patient care, (nurses, doctors, physical therapist, dentist etc) can NOT be on an opioid. With that said, MANY MANY MANY people work and takes opioids whether it's for pain problems, because they are addicted, are on an addiction treatment etc, work with patients. The one thing about urine test to check for benzo's (Xanax, Valium etc) and opiates (Oxy, Hydro's, Morphine etc) don't usually specifically check for Buprenorphine (the active ingredient in Suboxone). So basically it's up to you to say something. It's a risk you have to take. But in California if you a Registered Nurse, you can't be on opioids and care for patients and if you admit to the board that you are addicted and taking suboxone, they will make you attend programs, check urine frequently and more. They might even not allow you to get the license until you have been clean off all opioids (this is my guess). But if you already licensed, they can suspend you or make you do those things I listed above. It can turn into a HUGE mess. I personally feel as though as you can perform your job well, you don't feel like you are abusing meds in any way that would put a patient in harms way then you shouldn't have to disclose everything. But it's basically up to you. Hope this helps ; )


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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 6:39 pm 
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Hello -
I am in school and also have a Addiction counseling license and I am on Sub. It is a touchy subject, and in the past I have had issues because of it. I took it pretty hard, and almost changed my mind about what I wanted to do with my life. Then, something hit me- I realized that all the people who were criticizing my choices in recovery could not see past the treatment choice to see how well I was doing.
I recently was hospitalized for a very serious and painful virus. I did not have anything to help my pain except the suboxone because no one in the hospital knew what to do about it. I was fine with that- what scared me was that NO ONE knew much about the drug. Most people in the health field see black and white- but there is allot more to see sometimes. In my case, even the virus I contracted was unusual and it took time and many tests to figure out what was wrong.
Should you disclose it? I would - only because if they find out some other way, it could have negative consequences. However, admitting it could put a halt to your schooling. Let us know what happens and best of luck to you in your endeavors!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:21 pm 
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that great


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:22 pm 
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nice


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:53 pm 
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NJgirl405 wrote:
Hi Everybody,

I am brand new to the forum but need quick advice. I have been sober from all opiates for three years however. I succeded this by using a suboxone program. I have just been accepted into the nursing program at my university, I have met all of the requirements accept my physical which I am on a deadline to take. I have also been on a small dose of xanax for years for extreme anxiety that I have. I managed to get down to 4mg to 2mg a day of suboxone. I have to take a standard physical, I have been told they are not going to test for buprenex and that it will not show up. My Question is this...On this form I will definately disclose the xanax but should I also disclose the suboxone. I have heard that it will not show up on their test, but I have read so many things my head is spinning. I just need to know if I should put it on the form or not. If I do not and they find it, I still have a legal prescriptions for it. What do I do? Im not a gambler and I don't want to gamble my career on this. I am almost finished with this program and I will be done by the time I have to take my Nursing License. Will they or can they stop me from school for a legal prescription?



I would not mention the suboxone...it will put you in a long line of to do' lists..perhaps going to a program for impared nurses such as it is here in Texas. Try to be honest about everything elso..the bup will not show up in a reg. drug sdreen .


Every year when I renewed my license I would check no by the questions about alcohol an drug use. Yes I flat lied.
But I was going to AA all those years and did not want to have to go to their AA as well. I am not saying this is the best thing to do...it is just how I managed it. I never got caught and I never took a patient's drugs or any drugs from the hospital. I guess that was my rationale...Hope you find the best way for yourself.


Sincerely,'
Slipper


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:24 am 
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Wish NJGirl had come back to report what she did and what happened.

Because I am about one month away from going through this EXACT SAME THING!

I will disclose the benzo because I know it will show and I know I can't get off of them by then.

But do I disclose the sub? I'm thinking I will not.


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