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Fighting back when substance abuse endangers a medical career

On Behalf of | May 5, 2024 | Health Care Licensing Defense |

There are many reasons why someone who works in the medical profession might struggle with substance abuse. For example, they may have suffered an injury on the job that required medication. They may then have continued using the medication even when their symptoms begin improving.

Other times, it could be alcohol that a medical professional turns to to treat the stress they have related to their career. Self-medicating with alcohol can be as dangerous as abusing prescription medications for a physician. People may try to drink at work or may come to work while hungover after a wild night.

Both alcohol and drug abuse are relatively common among licensed medical professionals. Those substance abuse issues can potentially spill over and may begin affecting that professional’s job performance. When that happens, healthcare professionals may need help preserving their careers.

Licensing penalties can follow substance abuse issues

Having a professional license is necessary for those working as physicians or nurses. Without a license, an individual with prior medical work experience and educational training cannot work for a hospital or private practice.

When state licensing boards hear about issues that could undermine the caliber of work performed by a medical professional, they can take disciplinary action. Licensing boards may hold hearings to discipline those accused of substance abuse issues by coworkers or members of the public through direct reporting systems.

Licensed medical professionals could also face disciplinary efforts after an employer reports them due to terminating their position for a drug-related infraction or after they get arrested for an offense related to substance abuse. Criminal convictions can also lead to disciplinary hearings.

Thankfully, due process helps protect medical professionals at risk of losing their licenses. They have the right to legal representation when facing criminal charges and when facing disciplinary action in front of the regulatory authority responsible for their licensing. A lawyer can help them beat the charges that they face or negotiate a reasonable outcome to a disciplinary hearing.

A variety of defense options ranging from fighting charges to voluntarily undergoing treatment can potentially help medical professionals reduce their chances of losing their professional licenses. Having the right support when facing professional discipline can make all the difference for those in the medical field.

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