Tough new standards for nurses recovering from drug addiction in California

Share this content:

Healthcare workers in California who have abused drugs will face more stringent guidelines, the state said last week.

After treatment, nurses and other healthcare workers will be required to pay for clinical evaluations involving bi-weekly drug tests. After a worker tests negative for drugs, he or she will be allowed to return to work, according to the new rules from the California Department of Consumer Affairs. During their first year back on the job, these workers will face 104 drug tests. A single relapse will result in immediate, though usually temporary, license suspension. State licensing boards will be required to publically identify nurses and healthcare workers who have an inactive license or are subject to increased supervision. They won't be able to identify the workers as recovering drug addicts.

The new regulations come as a result of a news investigation earlier this year that found nurses were allowed to treat patients and often times continued to steal drugs while enrolled in a confidential rehabilitation program. The Drug Enforcement Agency has more strictly been enforcing rules regarding the dispensing of pain-relieving drugs in nursing homes. More information can be found at www.dca.ca.gov.