Are You Facing Professional Discipline Because of a Substance Addiction?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 23, 2023 | 0 Comments

The complex problem of drug or alcohol abuse and addiction is a perennial challenge to individuals, families, and communities. Attitudes towards addiction have changed over time, and most of us recognize that it is more than a matter of lack of willpower. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, and it includes people with substance use disorders under its protection. There is, however, an important distinction: While you are protected from losing your job even if you have an addiction, if you are currently using illegal drugs or abusing alcohol, you are not protected under the ADA. What does this mean for individuals with professional licenses, such as doctors, therapists, engineers, or building inspectors who struggle with a persistent addiction?

State Boards for Each Profession Determine the Standards Regarding Licensees with Addiction Issues

If you work in a profession that requires a professional license, you understand the hard work, time, and money it takes to qualify for licensure, and you understand what you may lose in terms of your career and reputation if that license is revoked. Each state in the U.S. has a board for every profession that requires licensure, and these boards have standards and guidelines addressing many issues, including substance abuse and addiction.

In California, for example, the Medical Board of California has its Uniform Standards for Substance-Abusing Licensees. Measures may include any of the following:

  • Undergoing a clinical diagnostic evaluation that includes determination of whether the individual has a substance abuse problem, if they may be a danger to themselves or others and recommendations that may include a treatment program and practice restrictions
  • A term of probation
  • Temporary removal from practice
  • Mandatory participation in an inpatient or outpatient treatment program
  • Random biological fluid testing
  • Notice given to the licensee's employer about any investigation or sanctions

The California medical board standards also include guidelines regarding when a licensee with addiction issues may return to practice and under what circumstances. In most cases, the licensee bears the cost for any tests or treatments. While these are standards for California, they are typical of those maintained by states throughout the country.

The Lento Law Firm Can Help You if Your Professional License Is at Risk Because of Persistent Issues With Addiction

The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm has the experience and knowledge to guide you if you are facing disciplinary action by your profession's governing board—in any state—because of addiction issues. We understand the gravity of what is at stake, and we will negotiate with the board on your behalf and work collaboratively with them as much as possible. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has helped professionals throughout the country retain their licenses, and we can help you. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or submit a confidential online consultation form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience fighting for the futures of his professional clients nationwide. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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