Whether you are a physician or a registered nurse, years of education went into developing your career. You also had to pass California state tests and secure a license. The licensing board will continually oversee your work performance. For medical professionals struggling with addiction, licensing requirements can make them worry constantly about the possible loss of their income.
Every time you renew your license, your professional and criminal history will be subject to intense scrutiny. Any controlled substance offense could potentially affect your license. Additionally, there is the constant risk that one of your patients, employees or coworkers might start to suspect you have a substance abuse issue and file a report with a licensing board.
Can you protect your investment in your profession thus far if you recently got arrested for a drug offense or face complaints lodged against you directly?
Substance abuse among medical professionals is a known issue
Individuals working in hospitals can easily injure themselves while providing patient care or experience intense psychological trauma if something goes wrong at work. Medical professionals, just like anyone else, may eventually start self-medicating when stress, pain or mental health issues start affecting the quality of daily life.
Unlike many other professionals, those who work in the medical field have easy access to certain substances and also the knowledge necessary to cover up their most obvious signs of impairment. Those who get arrested for an offense related to substance abuse, like prescription fraud or unlawful possession, will face criminal penalties if they don’t fight those charges and licensing consequences after a conviction.
Defending against the charges themselves can help some professionals worried about protecting their careers. Addressing the substance abuse issue can also be a smart step.
Being proactive shows a good faith desire to continue working
Prosecutors and licensing boards don’t just exist to punish people. Their goal is to protect society as a whole while holding individuals accountable for their decisions when those choices put others at risk.
If you show that you’ve acknowledged that you have an issue and have sought treatment for it, that could help you in criminal court or make it easier for you to defend your professional license in front of the state board. You may also need professional support to make a compelling case for yourself and to increase your chances of successfully defending your license and your reputation.
Taking proactive steps can make a big difference for those facing medical licensing consequences for substance abuse charges or accusations.