Anyone in a medical-related profession is expected to get tested for drugs upon their hiring and randomly at other times in their career. A pharmacist, nurse, or dentist handles prescription drugs all the time, but that does not mean they are exempt from the harsh Texas illegal or misuse of prescription drug laws.
Even though a medical professional may administer and handle drugs as part of their job, prescription drugs that are not prescribed (and illegal drugs) should not be expected to be in their possession.
Also, if a pharmacist, nurse, or any other medical professional is suspected of abusing prescription or illegal drugs, they will be tested immediately.
If suspected, some substances that may be tested include amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, phencyclidine (or PCP), benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, and more.
Pharmacists will dispense drugs, and nurses and dentists prescribe them for myriad reasons for their patients. However, Texas laws defining being in possession of prescription medication without a valid personal prescription still apply to them.
Also, no matter what your standing in the medical community, possession of a prescription drug without a prescription that is classified as a controlled substance is illegal in Texas. Possession of prescription medication can be defined as having it on your person, such as in your pocket but also being in the drug’s general vicinity, knowing it’s illegal, and having the ability and the intent to take actual possession.
In addition, if you are a pharmacist, nurse, or medical professional and fail a drug test, there are severe and career-altering consequences.
For example, if a nurse fails any drug test, they will receive notification from the Department of Health to relinquish their nursing license for a period. At the end of that period, they may re-apply for their license, and if granted, they may return to work on probationary status.
So, rules for drug testing differ and may vary due to your employer, if you’re just getting your license to practice, and for myriad reasons. However, whatever the reason for the test, if you are a nurse, pharmacist, or even a doctor and fail it, you could be in serious trouble and even forfeit your license to practice and your career.
What May Happen If I’m an RN Accused of Drug or Alcohol Abuse?
For example, the Texas Board of Nursing (or BON) has the authority to discipline and require a licensed professional nurse to abstain from drinking alcohol or using other drugs and submit to random drug screenings.
If a complaint is made or an RN fails a drug test, they will investigate the matter thoroughly. Nurses who use or misuse certain drugs or alcohol (or those who are addicted) risk losing their nursing license and nursing career. However, like most medical professional organizations, the BON has programs to assist a nurse experiencing a problem with drugs or alcohol and help them overcome their problem.
You must note that it is common for the BON to require random, periodic drug or alcohol screenings as a condition of employment and to renew or keep your license.
The above is an example, but today most all the professional associations governing pharmacists, dentists, doctors, etc., have similar testing procedures in place and disciplinary boards if any of their members fail a drug test or are accused of drug abuse or addiction.
If you are a medical professional under investigation by your professional licensing board for allegations of drug or alcohol abuse, your license, reputation, and career are all at stake.
It will be vitally important to your life and career to take any complaint seriously. The best way to get ahead of these allegations is to consult with a Texas criminal defense law firm that is experienced in helping professionals keep their licenses when a state agency or board attacks them.
Can a Nurse, Pharmacist or Doctor use Medical Marijuana in Texas?
The use of medical marijuana is becoming more frequent today, and its legality varies from state to state. In Texas, however, any use of marijuana is still considered to be illegal.
Over the last few years, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and all types of medical personnel have been under more stress and pressure than ever before. They must be aware, however, that if they do use marijuana, and it’s detected during a drug test, they still will face harsh Texas legal penalties.
Most hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products with less than 0.3% THC are legal in all 50 states, including Texas. So, if the oil or product is THC-free and meets federal legal standards, nurses and doctors can use the CBD product freely.
This can be confusing, though, and the standardization of these products varies. So, if you’re a medical professional and your drug test has shown results that could affect your licensing, then consulting with your local drug crime lawyer in Texas is mandatory.
Am I Under More Scrutiny and Tested More As a Medical Professional?
Texas has harsh penalties for all illegal drug use, prescription drugs included. Also, marijuana, which is medically legal in many states, is included on this list.
Also, the simple answer is yes; all licensed healthcare workers (nurses, pharmacists, dentists, doctors, etc.) are usually under more scrutiny than the general public. You carry significant responsibility as a licensed medical professional, and it is never acceptable for you to be at work under the influence of any type of drug that may inhibit your ability to make clear, immediate decisions. As you are aware, patients’ lives are at stake, and Texas drug laws take this fact seriously.
As a medical professional, you must consult immediately with a professional license defense attorney if you have an issue regarding drug-related matters. Get ahead of the problem before it triggers your licensing board or employer to take disciplinary action that puts your entire career at risk.
I’m a Medical Professional in Texas and Have a Problem With My Drug Test; How Should I Proceed?
Texas has harsh, severe, and life-changing penalties for anyone breaking their illegal possession and use of drugs statutes. As a medical professional, even a minor charge or failing a drug test can be devastating to the career you worked so hard to achieve.
Don’t leave anything to chance, and immediately consult with a Plano drug crime criminal defense lawyer that provides effective, aggressive, and vigorous license defense for all licensed health care professionals, including physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, chiropractors, and more.
In Texas, the complex intersection of medical licensing and criminal law for professional licensees is challenging and requires the expertise, experience, and diligence your law team will provide.