Nursing and Suboxone

Will buprenorphine show up in drug tests? Can nurses take Suboxone? Can I do drug court on methadone or buprenorphine? My PO says NO medication-assisted treatments.
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LoveNursing1
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Nursing and Suboxone

Post by LoveNursing1 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:02 pm

Can a person who is prescribed suboxone get liscensed as a nurse? Does it vary by state? I am particularly talking about the state of South Carolina. I called the nursing board and did not get a difinitive answer. They said it's up to your employer if your already a nurse. For people who aren't a nurse yet and are taking sub then it's on a case by case basis. If prescribed sub as an off label use for pain management then can someone get liscensed as a nurse? If I started seeing a pain management doctor instead of phsychiatrist then could I get liscensed. I don't think you can for use of opiate dependent but I'm not sure about pain management. Does anyone know the answer to this question for the state of South Carolina? Again the board said its case by case and I don't really understand what that means and the guidelines for it.

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suboxdoc
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Re: Nursing and Suboxone

Post by suboxdoc » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:37 pm

Goodness- you got my attention! I removed the repetative posts; we try to post in just one thread at a time, because otherwise we end up with a discussion spread over several topics, rather than a discussion focused in one place.

I've had nurses as patients in your position, and the answer to your question is not something anyone can say for sure-- because as they said to you, it is a 'case by case' call. Most nurses, when getting licensed, are asked the question 'do you suffer from an illness that has the potential to impair your ability to treat patients'-- or something along that line. Boards generally expect people with substance problems to answer 'yes'. When I faced that question as a physician 20 years ago I said 'no', taking a cue from then-President Clinton, who was arguing that the answer to whether he is having a sexual relationship with an intern depends on 'what the definition of 'is' is.' I figured that since my addiction was in remission for a few years after going to AA religiously, that I no longer had something that could impair my abilities. When I relapsed a few years later, they were not amused by my omission.

If you are treated with buprenorphine products for pain, I would argue that you have no impairment. Zero. Some idiot may argue that the drug MIGHT affect your mu receptors in some tiny way and have an impact on you, but whatever it does is not anywhere near as impairing as, for example, missing an hour of sleep, or missing a cup of coffee that morning.

Addiction is a different issue, because when it is active, we change our behaviors and become much more self-centered. So a history of addiction, especially to opioids or benzos, could cause problems while getting licensed. If you have a history of a single problem, went through treatment, and had no legal problems, you will likely be OK. But if you stole from an employer (drugs or cash), and/or had legal chargers, especially felonies, you will have more problems.

I tried to help a person in a different state get licensed, but the doc he was seeing in that state wasn't willing to help him. The opinion of your own doctor, along with the people who make decisions for the board about impaired professionals, are the people who will likely make the call.

Good luck!

Pelican
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Re: Nursing and Suboxone

Post by Pelican » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:08 pm

Hey Love,
Welcome here!
IDK, oh, means I don't know. We've had working nurses post here that are on suboxone. Some posters say to never report it. It seems to vary by state. I say that bc the Dr. that own this site, Dr Junig, aka suboxdoc is in Wisc. and another that stops in, docm2 from Minn, has commented on this.

I'm responding bc of all your posts which I see have been consolidated. I least want you to know you've been heard and will be heard. You matter here.

Imo, you'll need someone in nursing -- in SC, to hopefully respond. Maybe your nursing board said case by case bc to them it might matter what is your function. for ex. if you dispense opiates in any way or the opposite, are you in administration where it matters much less... Try the search function at the top. put in nursing and then search South Carolina and see if anything comes up from prior posters. Also try subxoxdoc and later docm2 in the author field. You''ll have to pick thru the posts. I remember docm2 stating Minn rules.

As to your question of addiction diagnosis or pain diagnosis, imo, yes a pain diagnosis is far better. That said, imo buprenorphine for pain is more the low doses found in the pain products Belbuca and Butrans. Suboxone for pain carries the addiction stigma so be aware....

Can you tell us a little more? Are you applying for your first nursing job and are on sub, a wonder med for most? !!! This is a great site and hopefully you are going thru it and reading lots! Wishing you my best, Pelican
Did well on Suboxone. Stopped May 2011.
Stopping went well -- its the staying stopped -- where the real work begins.
Coming here 'keeps recovery green'.

Pelican
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Re: Nursing and Suboxone

Post by Pelican » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:12 pm

Oh!! I replied same time almost as Dr. Junig, the owner of this site . So happy he responded. He's the BEST!! ever! Pelican
Did well on Suboxone. Stopped May 2011.
Stopping went well -- its the staying stopped -- where the real work begins.
Coming here 'keeps recovery green'.

laurenbelle
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Re: Nursing and Suboxone

Post by laurenbelle » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:59 pm

I’d like to hear how things panned out for you! In my opinion, I think you should be honest. The BON will likely be empathetic to an honest, heartfelt, truthful statement regarding your past issues. If you are doing well in recovery and are completely open and up front, they will want to help you. If you lie or try to be sneaky, they will not like you and things likely won’t go well from there.

I’m not in SC, but I am a nurse in Minnesota and have been on Suboxone for two years, since before I became a nurse. When applying for my license, I was very up front and honest about my struggle with opioids and about being on Suboxone. They issued me a license without a review or hearing. I had even hired a lawyer for the occasion, but never had to use her. That being said, Minnesota is a pretty progressive state, and I’ve heard that the southern states can be quite different.

Please let us know how it panned out for you.

Best wishes,
Lauren

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Re: Nursing and Suboxone

Post by rule62 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:21 pm

Thanks for all the great information Lauren. Unfortunately, this post is a year old so the OP probably won't see your response. We all appreciate it and other RN's who come visit our forum will benefit from your answer. That is so great to read the Minnesota actually has some compassion. How other states will handle it remains to be seen.
Don't take yourself so damn seriously

rob500
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Re: Nursing and Suboxone

Post by rob500 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:02 pm

I know a licensed nurse who is prescribed Suboxone and the staff knows.
This is in state of Missouri.

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