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A Pharmacist’s Struggle With Addiction


Licensed professionals can lose their license in a number of ways. One of them is addiction. When a pharmacist becomes addicted to prescription drugs, obviously that is not a good sign. However, it happens a lot.

A clinical pharmacy coordinator at Boston Medical Center dealt with this very issue. Shortly into his new job, he became addicted to opioids and started forging prescriptions. He felt it was acceptable because he was paying for the medications. To him, it was not diversion. The man claimed he practiced there for more than two years while impaired. As far as he knew, he had never harmed a patient.

His colleagues noticed something was off, but they never offered help. Instead, they pressured him to resign, which he eventually did once he realized his drug use and behaviors were getting worse.

Boston Medical Center never reported the man to the state pharmacy board, so he was able to continue working as a pharmacist. He served as the clinical affairs director at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School. The school was not aware of his drug addiction.

The man’s next employer, Onco360 Oncology Pharmacy, also had no clue that the man was struggling with addiction. Onco360 was told by UMass that his position was eliminated due to a restructuring.

That was when things took a turn for the worse. Six months into his new position at Onco360, the man was caught taking controlled substances. The state pharmacy board ordered him to surrender his license. The Drug Enforcement Administration and state and local police filed charges against him. Until this point, the man was in denial about his addiction. He went into rehabilitation in April 2010 so that he could get his pharmacy license reinstated. It was there that he was told he was ill.

One in 10 pharmacy professionals will suffer from a substance use disorder at some point during their lifetime. In fact, substance use disorder is the most serious illness to afflict pharmacists in their first 15 years of practice. They tend to think they can safely self-medicate and not become addicted, but that is not always the case.

Some signs of a substance use disorder in a co-worker include:

  • Increased absences and tardiness
  • Long bathroom breaks
  • Mysterious disappearances
  • Slurring words
  • Staying late for no reason
  • Smell of alcohol on the breath
  • Decreased reliability/not showing up for meetings
  • Easily confused or forgetful
  • Makes more mistakes than usual
  • Appears groggy or seems different

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Pharmacist License & Pharmacy Permit Lawyer

Pharmacists have access to a wide variety of drugs, making them prone to addiction. This puts them at a high risk of incurring strict penalties, including license loss.

If you are a licensed professional with a drug addiction, you could be facing administrative issues. Get the help you need from a Tampa pharmacy license & pharmacy permit lawyer from The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling (813) 968-6633.