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 Post subject: nursing and suboxone
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:41 am 
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hello, i need your expertise regarding a issue.This is so hard for me to even talk about but....DEEP Breath ,here it goes.I am a newly graduated RN. I suffered from addiction to pain pills about seven years ago. I realized that it was leading to a problem after about 4-5 months of using ,and decided to get help. I sought out an out patient recovery program,in which i was detoxed using suboxone. It worked beautifully, I have been clean from all drugs and been taking suboxone ever since. The issue is :some where in the middle , my now husband and i could not both afford to go and pay for two different doctors visits, and two different prescriptions. At the time, he decided to go , and would give me the dose that i was preveously taking, and take half of what was prescribed to him. I know that it is WRONG, but at the time i was so scared of relapsing, and i didnt know of any other choice. So life went on, I never relapsed, i dont drink, I got my life together and i went back to school for nursing. I thought i could make a difference in peoples lives. Even in nursing , the thought never crossed my mind to use. I took the drug test (12 panel) for school, no problem. I took my boards and passed in 75 question , the first time. Fast forward , i go to apply for MY FIRST job,only having my liscence for less thatn a month. Knowing that drug testing comes with the territory, i start researching if suboxone comes up in a drug test. Everyone i talked to said No.Seeing as i had already passed a drug test for school, and i couldnt find any proof that was different. I aggreed to take the Pre employment drug test. Today, i received a call, saying i tested positive for suboxone, and unless I could show proof that i am being treated ,this will be reported to the state board. I am going to go to a suboxone doctor tomorrow, and see what can be done. I am so upset, i can barely breathe. I would really appreciate any help you can give.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:17 am 
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HI

wow ,,,, what a dilema

my best friend is an RN, and I know how tough nursing school is.

maybe you will find an understanding dr. when you go in??? MAYBE he can write a letter for you?????
knowing all the 'technicalities' with nursing, im just guess a perscription, even dated ahead a little of when you took the test might not work???? or would it????
they said just show proof of treatment, right????
so, now that Im thinking about it, if you can just show the Rx info you get from your appointment, MAYBE that'll be enough?????????????

I dont know, TRY to feel your doctor out, and see if they'd write you a letter, saying your in treatment, sparing the details of dates, just stating
'currently in treatment"

that may just be your ticket. and THAT way, the doctor is lying. since that day you WILL be in treatment.
LOL

Im sorry I dont have more awesome advice for you.

I do, wish you the best of luck. If you dont get this job, maybe its not the one for you ...........
keep your apt with the suboxone doctor, and keep applying. THEN, you will be officially in treatment, and ready to go!!!!!!

Crossing my fingers for ya :wink: :wink: :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:21 am 
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Hi recoverynurse, welcome to the forum!

Im also an RN on suboxone.

I guess all you can really do now is get a prescription. I think if the prescription is current the job won't care. If for some reason they get mad that the dates don't line up and report you to the board, I still wouldn't stress out too bad. It may take months for the board to get to this "complaint" and by then you will have a prescription. The board will not take away your licence for this anyway. They wouldn't take your licence away if you were shooting up heroin at work. The board will usually try to get nurses the help they need. They may want to monitor you for a while to make sure you are sober and have support or they may just say the complaint is unfounded and dismiss it. Don't stress on this now, it is totally out of your control.

The MAIN thing is making sure it is ok for you to work while on sub. Some states do not allow nurses to take sub/methadone. This would be the bigger problem for you.

Either way, just do WHATEVER you have to do to get a prescription ASAP! Even if you are not allowed to work while on sub at least you could to a proper taper off.

And continue to work hard in recovery/sobriety! Good luck and feel free to ask any other questions. Let us know how it goes with the suboxone doctor.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:57 am 
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Thank you both so much for your support!
I guess i should of explained this part a little bit better. The job is not my concern. I declined the offer, because i was unsure what the laws were regarding working on suboxone. I have never even started on the floor or come in contact with a patient. My main concern with this is reporting this to the state board. Other specifics i should of mentioned, which i'm not sure if they matter or not: I had my lisence for exactly one month upon testing.The job required both a urine analysis sent to a lab and hair folice screening that went back 90 days. Now seeing as i was technically not a nurse for two months of the test, i dont know if it did go to the board ,if that would either help me, or hurt me.
I am going to TRY to talk to a doctor. The man i talked to from the drug testing lab said that if i could show documentaion from a doctor that eithie: 1) i am a patient currently in a suboxone clinic under his care( however i dont know if they are going to request a letter stating that on the day i took the drug test i was under his care) or that i had been seen and treated for acciedental ingestion/ect from him and he is aware of the situation.
The hospital i am dealing with has zero tolerance, in fact if i discussed some of the other unheard of requirements i went through for the process, itwould astonish you.
I am trying to cover all my bases.
If i cant get accurate documentation, i will start within a doctors office regardless, and i will call a laywer specially trained in these situations to advise me on my next move.
I have been crying all day, but honestly from the bottom of my heart... i feel that i have never endangered any patient, but instead my background gives me a humane quailty ,and the abilty to look past ANY disease and to treat a patient like a human being ,and give equal care to anyone. I hope i clarified some things. If anyone has any advice, or similar situations, or anything PLEASE, let me know. I know you may not tihink its alot,but really its all the support i have right now so THANK YOU!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:50 am 
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OK recoverynurse, stop stressin out! You will be fine. Some state nursing boards are stricter than others so its so hard to say what will happen.

But, if you go in there with a letter or a prescription bottle that says you are a patient NOW that should be enough for him. Just get the letter from the doctor with the current date on it saying you are his patient. If the guy is an asshole who thinks he is doing the world a big favor by reporting you to the board, who cares. First of all he may be saying it and then not do it.

If he does, it does not matter. You are now (or almost) a person with a legit prescription who has a history of an addiction problem. That is not a crime. The worst the board will do is force you to enter some kind of impaired nurses program. You may have to go to meetings and take drug tests. You may have a period of time where they wont allow you to work giving narcotics (but I totally doubt that would happen in your case) You can still work. Your licence will NOT have one mark on it.

I was actually diverting (STEALING) narcotics and the pharmacy records allerted my bosses. They asked me if I did it and I said yes. Positive drug test too. USING DRUGS WHILE TAKING CARE OF PATIENTS. They did not fire me. They got me help. Its been four months and I just found out my bosses still havent reported me to the nursing board. So I unintentionally reported my self. Oh well I don't care. I am begining the process of entering the impaired nurses program. MY licence is active for goodness sakes.

So see, you will be totally fine. You had a past history, you got a prescription. You did nothing wrong. Addiction is a DISEASE. Nursing Boards KNOW this. If he says hes gonna report you, good for him. Maybe you could get proactive and go to some AA/NA meetings and record your presence there, or start working with an addiction counselor once a week. By the time the slow moving board gets to this complaint, you will have a prescription and documented recovery activities to brag about.

I would call the board (or have someone call for you) and just ask...."I would like to become an RN, can I take suboxone or should I get off of it before nursing school." Bam, theres your answer. No need to hire a lawyer at this point. I don't have a lawyer for Gods sakes. If they say you can work on sub, good for you! Sweet! Go out and get a job. If not, taper for as long as you need to, wait a week, and Go out and get a job.

Also, in my state, the nursing board does not take away your licence. It can only be taken by the nursing commishion after a long legal process. Im in washington by the way.

So good luck!! You are really gonna be fine! I hope it goes well with the sub doc....I hope you get your letter and shove it down that guys throat!!!!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:44 am 
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[font=Comic Sans MS]Hello RecoveryNurse. I don't have any great advice to give you, as I don't know a whole lot about the nursing boards and how they work. Aside from what I hear my mother saying. I just wanted to let you know that you do have support here. I am behind you 100% and wanted you to know that a lot of us are. I think that you are an admirable person. Look at how far you have come from the days of your addiction. You are an inspiration to those of us who think "it can't be done". All we have to do is look at people like you and know that it CAN be done.

I hope that everything works out to your advantage. OrangeDoll sounds like she has got a ton of knowledge and experience in this field. I would keep listening to what she has to say. I think that if she went through what she did, and didnt' lose her liscense, then you should be fine. My mom works with another nurse who is a pill addict. She was caught stealing narcotics that were to be given to the patients in recovery from labor and delivery. The hospital that they work for, got her help, held her job, and she is back to work and has been clean for almost 2 years now. I don't think that anyone will intentionally try to ruin your career. Just keep doing what orangedoll is suggesting, if you want of course, and I think that everything will work out.

Good Luck to you, and let us know how everything turns out. Take care.[/font]

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:58 am 
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Thank you so much for all your help and support. I should of said Im in PA if that helps anyone. i have gotten a doctors appointment at 1:00.The company that checks the results for the hospital in which I applied seems very nice about this, and i dont think that they are going to give me any problems (HOPEFULLY). The hospital in which i applied, are not so nice. I think what upsets me most about this situation is the ignorance ive encountered in the health care field. I feel if anyone should be knowledgable and not fall for steriotypes and misinformation about your healthcare, it should be the individuals in CHARGE of your health. I'm not contending that every person that has ever taken suboxone is mother tersea, and taken the drug responosibly ,as prescribed.However, it is prescribed to treat a clinical illness(addiction), and with any drug or illness there are all different types of people and situations. I know with Diabetes , not everyone prescribed insulin takes it as prescribed.Some people use it to regulate their weight , and abuse the purpose. And The overwhelming success rate for people who take suboxone to carry on and lead normal healthy lives is incredible. If it was any other drug , they would be cramming it down your throat. Ok i got to get down off my pulpit to go to a doctors appointment. :wink: I do want to say again though, YOUR support means the world to me , Thanks for listening :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:50 pm 
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Hello ALL! i just wanted to update everyone on what happened. I went to the doctor today, and told him the truth about the situation. To be honest, I was astonished at how he acted like this was so normal. The whole place was amazing.He even said he would help me taper off, and i could set my own pace.So now i'm LEGAL, anyways .I paid cash that way ,no one can tell what i'm taking.(if anyone wants me to elaborate on how they now track your meds through your insurance ...let me know)I told him about them testing for suboxone, and he said that they have been doing that more and more for the past year and a half. I JUST want to make that clear, if anyone gets anything from my experience i hope its that: More and more people are testing for it, and while theres a good chance if its for your average job they wont....Dont take that chance.Have a script or dont test. I think about the stress that could of been avoided had i just covered all my bases, its just unnessecary. I cant tell you how HAPPY i am that i can just use this as a learning expereince, but it could of ended up horribly wrong. So next time you hear some one say" no employers tests for subs" you can say yes they do!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:17 pm 
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YAY YOU! I'm so glad this turned out with you getting on legitimate treatment. While I was reading your thread I was actually thinking that there was a possibility that your doctor would understand. So many people nowadays are doing things the way you did. So many sub doctors are taking cash only and making it so damned difficult for people seeking recovery/remission to get that treatment, therefore compassionate, educated doctors do exist out there and I'm so happy you have one of them!

And you're right, more and more companies are testing for suboxone for the simple reason that it's becoming more commonly used. You're also right that it's downright pathetic (my opinion) how bad the misunderstanding and/or misconception is about suboxone in the medical community. It leaves patients like us to try to educate doctors, which isn't always the easiest thing to do, depending on the doctor and the type of doctor-ego they have.

Thanks for the update and I wish you all the luck in your new career. Congrats on your awesome test scores and on obtaining your new RN license. That's nothing to sneeze at and you should be VERY proud of yourself.

:mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:13 pm 
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THATS SOOOOO GREAT :wink: :wink: :wink:


seriously,,,, happy for you!!!!!!!


yea, and nursing school.............my best friend that I mentioned, is a single mother of two, and she said getting herself thru nursing school was the single most difficult thing she ever did!!!!
so, I know you've been thru the ringer!!!!

Keep up the good work. I actually would RATHER a nurse on suboxone, (or at some point been on) take care of me, then one with NO experience w/addiction at all.
who knows, now that you're in the position you are, you could help MANY people.

[marq=right]***Keep Marching On***[/marq]

_________________
anyone can give up,
its the easiest thing in the world to do, but to
hold it together, when everyone would understand if you fell apart
That's TRUE STRENGTH
http://almostoneyearclean.blogspot.com/


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:10 am 
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Yay! I knew it would work out for you!

So are you allowed to work on sub? After reading your post it sounds like no.

Good luck on the new career. I wish you the best!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:40 pm 
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Thanks everyone for ALL the support.
I'm in the process now of checking what the laws are in my state.But I will say that once i providied proof of treatment they passed my drug test through as clean.The second thing I wanted to bring up is If in my state the Nurse practice act dictates that you are not allowed any mood or mind altering drugs within 24 hours, how would they ever know. Suboxone stays in your system for 3-5 days .The other thing is , if i didnt take it wouldnt that mean I'm not taking my medications as prescribed?This area is fuzzy for me.I have read through the PA code, and cant find anything to do with this.As for me tapering off, I think i will be fine getting a job on subs, i personally want to try and taper off. For me I feel ready, and if i get to the point where i think , this isnt working for me. I'll go back on. I know i want to do this REALLY slowly. I'm weird in the respect that if i feel like i cant have something, i want it more .I appreciate everyone standing behind me...and i just wanted to say how refreshing it is to be able to speak freely without fear of judgement.So thank you all, so much, I'm so glad i found this place!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:40 pm 
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I'm glad to hear that worked out for you. Your story interested me because I have a friend that's freaking out right now because he has to give a hair sample for a drug test for a major soft drink company (not nursing & I don't mean to hijack your thread. Sorry- saw hair sample & went with it). I don't know what to tell him to do- I took a test for a job but it was a 10 panel urine sample so I never told them and I passed. Based on everyone's experience how should a person handle a situation in which they have a legitimate script for sub and have to give a hair sample for a pre-employment drug screening?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:05 am 
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dear NoGroovin, I would say that if it's for a soft drink company , and he has a legal script and is not worried about anything else coming up... I would say take it . My husband has also prviously had to submit a hair folice test for his job, and he had no issues. Companies who do these test , go through a third party (lab). The company really isnt privledged to know what medications your taking, just that your not on illegal drugs,and/or are prescribed your medications.When I spoke with the guy from the lab, I told him that I really didnt want my job to know what medications i am prescribed, and he said thats the whole purpose of the lab doing it. Once you provide your documents they just let your job know your clean. I will also say that for my husbands job, he was never asked to show verification of his suboxone script. This was a year ago or so, so i would have that on hand regardless.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:56 pm 
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Thanks RN. I took a 10 panel urine test for coca cola and it didn't show up. I would imagine the hair test checks for the same things with this other company. He's freaking out because the testing is actually done in house- coke was the same way. I understand the concern. Subs are the only thing he's taken but if he tells them he has a legit script they might question him-even if he says its for pain (as opposed to addiction) they may question that he can do the job because of an injury. Chances are that, like coca cola, they DON'T test for subs but with big companies they don't offer you a chance to explain later. You're either eligible or ineligible. They don't offer you a chance to explain- they just move on to one of the other many applicants.

Sticky situation for sure. Maybe I'll start another thread instead of just hijacking yours - more than I already have. Lol


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