DRUG & ALCOHOL ABUSE, DEPENDENCY OR IMPAIRMENT – NURSE LICENSE DEFENSE
Elder & Good nurse license defense attorneys are well equipped to defend a nursing license under scrutiny by the Kentucky Board of Nursing or the Ohio Board of Nursing for drug or alcohol abuse, impairment, dependency or addiction. Whether you self-report or someone else reports you to the Kentucky Alternative Recovery Effort (KARE) or to the Ohio Alternative Program (AP), you need strong and effective nurse license defense attorneys to defend your Kentucky or Ohio nursing license immediately. The bottom line is simple: if you are suspected of alcohol or drug abuse, impairment dependency or addiction your Kentucky or Ohio nursing license is at risk.
KENTUCKY KARE PROGRAM AND OHIO AP
There are advantages to both programs if you fit the criteria for participation, including:
- Participation in KARE and AP is not considered disciplinary action;
- The terms and conditions of KARE and AP participation is kept confidential from the public; and
- Participation in KARE and AP is not reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.
Of course, KARE and AP are intensive programs that often require some or all of the following:
- Alcohol and drug evaluations and follow through with treatment recommendations;
- Participation in a 12-step program;
- Limitations on a nurse relating to handling or administering controlled medications;
- Limitations on a nurse relating to serving in a supervisory capacity, number of hours worked per week or where a nurse is permitted to work;
- Random urine drug and alcohol screens;
- Employer notification of a nurses participation in the program;
- Coordination and communication between the employer and the Nursing Board;
- Meetings and regular contact with Kentucky and Ohio Nursing Board Compliance Officers.
There are circumstances that render a nurse ineligible to participate in KARE or AP. In the event a nurse is considering self-reporting a drug or alcohol issue to the Kentucky or Ohio Board of Nursing, he or she should first contact a nurse license defense attorney to discuss eligibility for KARE or AP. If a nurse had been reported to the Kentucky or Ohio Board of Nursing for suspected alcohol or drug use, he or she should immediately contact a nurse license defense lawyer to discuss eligibility for KARE or AP, and to learn about alternatives to those programs if ineligible.
Our nurse license defense attorneys, Chad Elder and Brian Good, have substantial experience representing nurses during the reporting and treatment stages of a nursing board case. We stand ready for the nurse to benefit from this knowledge while we defend his or her nursing license before the Kentucky or Ohio Board of Nursing.
There are several important concerns that must be addressed, some of which are as follows:
Will the Nursing Board restrict or suspend a nursing license for suspected drug or alcohol abuse, impairment, addiction or dependency?
The Kentucky and Ohio Nursing Boards are empowered to restrict or suspend a nurse license if it believes that he or she poses an immediate danger to patients or the public. Whether it chooses to file an emergency suspension or restriction depends on the facts of the particular case. Elder & Good nurse license defense attorneys assist nurses in avoiding emergency suspensions or restrictions by the Kentucky Board of Nursing and the Ohio Board of Nursing by:
- Making appropriate contact with the nursing board at the onset of an investigation or report of a drug or alcohol issue;
- Immediately advising nurses on proactive steps they can take to convince the nursing board that they do not pose a danger;
- Ensuring that all communication between the nursing board and a nurse is directed through them.
Has the nurse committed a crime?
Often, a nurse who is abusing prescription medications has obtained and ingested them illegally, such as by writing fraudulent prescriptions or diverting controlled substances from the work place. Some nurses also become addicted to illegal street drugs, such as cocaine. These actions can result in restriction, suspension or revocation of a nursing license separate and apart from the addiction, impairment or dependency issue. They can also result in criminal prosecution, conviction and even incarceration.
Again, it is important to retain an effective nurse license defense attorney in Kentucky or Ohio as soon as the nursing board or law enforcement is notified about your alcohol or drug issue. By making immediate contact with law enforcement, our nurse license defense attorneys have warded off criminal convictions, negotiated lesser charges and mitigated the impact of criminal convictions for many nurses and other health care professionals. It is exceedingly important for a nurse to fully understand all potential consequences that a particular conviction (and even diversion agreements) can have on his or her nursing license.
Has the nurse put patients at risk?
While the Nursing Board takes all allegations of drug or alcohol abuse seriously, it is especially concerned when a nurse attends work or treats patients while under the influence. If a nurse has engaged in such conduct as a result of his or her chemical impairment or dependency issue, that conduct will be subject to scrutiny and discipline separate and apart from the underlying chemical dependency issue.
In short, a nurse must be proactive to protect his or her nurse license and to mitigate the damage that can result from a criminal investigation. Ignoring the problem or deciding to deal with it at some later time will only complicate matters and decrease the odds of a favorable outcome. Moreover, a nurse should not attempt to deal directly with the Kentucky or Ohio Nursing Board or law enforcement regarding any issue that may impact his or her nurse license or that may result in criminal prosecution. This is especially true if the nurse is suffering from an addiction or impairment.
If you are a nurse entering treatment or engaged in treatment or under board investigation in Kentucky or Ohio, you have hurdles to overcome but your nursing career need not end. Elder & Good nurse license defense attorneys can help you defend your nursing license before the Kentucky Board of Nursing and the Ohio Board of Nursing. Strong, effective and experienced nursing board defense attorneys can make all the difference
Elder & Good nurse license defense attorneys are prepared to defend your nursing license. Contact us to learn more.