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I was reported to the board of nursing because of a positive drug test, but I have never taken these drugs. Do I explain myself to the board, or do I need legal advice?

Friday November 23, 2012
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I was reported to the board of nursing because of a positive drug test, but I have never taken these drugs. I am working on applying for a license in another state. My plan was to let my current license lapse in January, before I even knew a complaint had been filed. I am terrified that I am going to lose my license. Do I explain myself to the board, or do I need legal advice?

Neal



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Neal,

It would be in your best interest to retain a nurse attorney or attorney to represent you in this matter. Although you state you never took the drug that tested positive in your sample, you do need to vigorously defend yourself against this allegation. It is possible, for example, the sample used to test for the drug was not yours, or the sample was not properly obtained and labeled — or the positive result is because of a legitimate drug you were taking, but that results in a false positive for a drug you did not take. In any event, you need legal representation.

Legal representation also is necessary because what happens in your home state (e.g., if you are disciplined) has an impact on the potential for licensure in the state in which you are now applying. For example, you stated you did not know you were under investigation in your home state. As a result, you answered "No" to such a question in the new state application. Now that you have been alleged by the board to have a positive drug test, that answer is no longer true. Other questions asked by the board in the new state application for licensure also may no longer be truthful. Your attorney can help you with this issue, too.

Sincerely,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.