Substance Abuse Matters
Substance abuse is the most common cause of impairment among doctors, and it remains a concern throughout the entire healthcare industry. Substance abuse disorders are known to affect up to 15% of doctors at some point in their careers, a percentage that’s in line with substance abuse for the overall population.
The attorneys at Norman Spencer Law Group have helped many licensed healthcare professionals navigate through legal issues associated with substance abuse matters, consulting with and representing clients accused of substance abuse.
Substance abuse disorders can result in harrowing consequences for all those affected, physicians included. They may impair a professional’s capacity to practice safely and skillful, a violation of the code of conduct.
Alternative Solutions for Substance Use and Abuse
While some cases raise a legitimate concern about a licensed healthcare professional’s inability to practice due to potential substance abuse, other cases are not as clear-cut. A number of doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners are reported for minor substance use issues that don’t impair their ability to practice.
In such cases, licensed healthcare professionals are often coerced into monitoring and intervention programs by state licensing boards, employers and insurance carriers. Unaware of alternative solutions that may help maintain their license, healthcare practitioners may be told that select intervention programs are the only option if they want to continue practicing. This information is incorrect, and it may have a notable impact on their license.
The lawyers at Norman Spencer Law Group are well-aware of alternative solutions that may help avoid action against your professional license. In some cases, healthcare practitioners may not need to enroll in an intervention program at all. In other cases, we’ve helped healthcare practitioners with substance abuse issues negotiate a less invasive recovery program.
Professional Licensing Attorneys
Our legal healthcare team is dedicated to representing doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, chiropractors, psychologists and other licensed healthcare professionals facing difficult decisions associated with substance abuse. The outcome of substance abuse cases rests largely on three critical factors:
- If the licensed healthcare professional has an alcohol or drug addiction
- If the matter at hand is a first offense
- The ability to prove the following factors to the relevant board:
- The matter at hand was an isolated situation
- The licensed healthcare professional is safe to practice
- The healthcare professional would not benefit from a monitoring period
- The professional does not need active supervision
The attorneys at Norman Spencer Law Group are prepared to work through these critical factors with you. If possible, our aim is to prove to the relevant board that you are capable of continuing your practice without an intervention.
Substance Abuse Accusations
If you’re accused of substance abuse, it’s important to contact a qualified attorney before you take any other type of action. Do not contact the HPRP, IPN, PRN or other relevant intervention program. Although the mission statement of the relevant state intervention program may say the program exists to help and guide you, its main aim is to protect the public. Helping and guiding licensed healthcare professionals is a very subjective mission, one that’s open to aggressive interpretation.
Uninformed supervisors and coworkers may urge you to call the designated intervention program, but your first call should instead be to one of our experienced healthcare licensing lawyers. When healthcare professionals try to handle the licensing aspect of a case by themselves, or with someone who has only handled a few cases, they are typically treading on dangerous ground.
It’s imperative to contact a qualified licensing lawyer who is well-versed in what to do, when to do it, and how to go about it. If handled poorly, a disciplinary matter associated with substance abuse can quickly lead to suspension or even revocation of your professional license.
Our healthcare lawyers are dedicated to helping licensed healthcare professionals, and we are ready and willing to help you with difficult issues surrounding substance abuse. If healthcare professionals do have a substance dependency or impairment problem, the intervention programs are there to help. For those who don’t have such a problem, the intervention programs can be a nightmare that needs to be avoided at all costs.
Our goal is to help healthcare professionals continue their practice. This is a possibility, even when facing substance abuse accusations, when the case is handled properly. We are here to help you get through the process with the most favorable outcome available.
Most Common Substances and Reasons for Misuse
The most common substances misused by doctors are:
- Prescription opiates
- Prescription sedatives
- Illegal stimulants
According to the Journal of Addiction Medicine, prescription drugs are most commonly misused for five reasons. These are:
- Managing physical pain
- Managing psychiatric or emotional distress
- Managing stressful situations
- Recreational purposes
- Avoiding withdrawal symptoms
If you’re a healthcare professional facing substance abuse accusations, don’t hesitate to contact one of the attorneys Norman Spencer Law Group as quickly as possible. We’re here to help. Call our office to schedule a consultation today.