Drug Abuse Misuse and It's Impact on Professional Licenses

Drug Abuse & Licenses

There are so many working professionals that often put their all into their work and their clients but also have to deal with personal stress, fatigue, and other personal problems. Unfortunately, the toll that life and work takes on some individuals leads them to turn to illegal drugs, abuse of prescriptions, and alcohol. Substance abuse and misuse takes a toll on the individual and usually impairs their judgment and slows their work performance. Drugs and alcohol make it more likely for professionals to make mistakes that could lead to horrible consequences. As such, drug abuse and misuse could impact your professional license. Learn more on this page.

Facing License Issues

Healthcare professionals, specifically doctors and nurses have one of the highest rates of addiction in the workforce because of the stress of the job, the access to prescriptions and narcotics, and the desire to stay alert or escape the emotional pain of making difficult decisions and dealing with disappointing results. The same goes for professionals in all fields of work dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and other personal issues. 

The Commissioner of Public Health has the authority to discipline licensed professionals for abusing or excessively using drugs, alcohol, and narcotics. This means that if there has been a filed complaint against a licensee or a person has reported the licensee’s conduct to the Commissioner, they can open an investigation. The Commissioner may also order the licensee to submit to physical or mental examinations to determine if he or she is fit to continue working. The licensee may also be required to submit to drug testing as part of the investigation

Rehabilitation

Although licensed professionals can be disciplined for drug abuse and misuse, there is a professional recovery system in place in Connecticut called the Connecticut Association for Addiction Professionals (CAAP). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prevents employers from firing a professional if they make the decision to go to rehab, seek counseling, or get any other treatment for addiction. So, if a professional decides to seek help for addiction before the Commissioner or the regulating agency gets involved due to a complaint, the professional cannot lose their license. 

Reporting and Complaints

In Connecticut, there are requirements for mandatory reporting of impairment in certain professions. This means that whenever one of these licensed professionals is caught impaired due to alcohol or drugs or is suspected to be abusing or excessively using them, it must be reported. These professions include most healthcare professionals, embalmers and funeral directors, EMS, counselors, social workers, and veterinarians. This conduct must be reported to both the Department of Public Health and the Department of Consumer Protection, Drug Control Division. 

If an agency that regulates a profession receives a formal complaint about a licensee who is abusing drugs or alcohol or found to be impaired while on the job, there will be an investigation into the professional. After an investigation, if there is evidence that is substantial enough to move forward, the licensee will be given the opportunity for an administrative hearing, at which time the evidence will be shown and witnesses can testify. The administrative board can impose restrictions, counseling, treatment, license suspension and revocation. 

If you are a licensed professional that wants to get addiction help but fears that they will lose their professional license or fears that their professional license is at risk, it is advisable to speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable about your rights and options. Call our office to speak with an attorney today. 

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