What are my options if I am facing discrimination? Posted on March 23, 2011

I am a nurse who is also a recovering drug addict. I have gone through all the necessary channels to become involved in the Ohio Board of Nursing's alternative program. This is a voluntary, confidential, non-punitive program. If I complete their program (3-4 years) there will be no permanent mark on my RN license. In my contract it states that if I am taking any controlled substance, I must not work as a nurse for the duration that I am on the medication (obviously, prescribed by a doctor). I am and have been on Nuvigil for a couple years for chronic fatigue. This is a "controlled substance" but not one of my drugs of abuse (I abused "downers"). My therapist is insistent that I fight this and continue taking the medication because it does affect my quality of life. The nursing board says that there are no exceptions to this rule and that if a doctor feels I need to be on a controlled substance for a length of time that I would default out of the alternative program and into the discipline program (which is public and punitive). I am following ALL of their guidelines and staying clean (daily calls to check if I am selected to random testing, weekly meetings with a chemical dependency counselor, step meetings, psychiatrist, monthly reports, etc). I feel like this is unfair to me, just because I am taking a medication that helps me to focus and increases my quality of life would cause me to have to be disciplined when I otherwise would not have been. I am just trying to figure out what my options are.

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