Grey area - lets speculate: An RPh smokes pot legally in colorado...then what

pharmacy7424

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Say he is given a random drug screen the next day by his employer which he knows he will not pass, and declines the test. It is fair to say he will be fired, and likely reported to state board. Would the state board still require the draconian impaird health professionals rehabilitation programs for what is not a legal use of the substance?

I don't care that the job will be lost, but rather, the end effects of the license. Discuss!
 

Momus

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Go to the medical dispensaries, ask for a urine bag, problem solved...
 

xiphoid2010

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The state board will probably make a ruling on a case like that within a month. Why not just wait a bit and read all about it?
 

zelman

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The state board should probably follow state laws and do nothing.
 

eagles22

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You can get in trouble for testing positive for EtOH on the job and it's a legal substance. I'd consider marijuana in that same category. I think until the tests for marijuana use can better delineate the time of use, people who get drug tested for work are probably going to have to abstain from smoking it at all if they're worried. But in all honesty, you usually know when a drug test should be expected and should be able to hold off smoking for a week or 2.
 
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Impaired is impaired. If you fail a drug test, you should be fired.
Alcohol isn't illegal. Yet should someone fail a breathalyzer test at work, they are impaired, on the job and will be fired. Same for pot, no matter if it's legal or not.
Professional responsibility being breached by impairment, should be reported to the board. The boards punishment is what I think your concerned with.

Pharmacists (the drug experts) knowingly working while impaired, should be dealt with in a 'draconian' manner.
I'm as liberal on the law as you'll find. However, public safety is the primary concern over the pharmacist's fun time.
If someone smokes pot, they should be prepared for a 2 week vacation or else don't smoke it. No matter if it's legal or not.
After it's washed out of the body and as long as they have not worked while impaired, I have no problem with the pharmacist going back to work.
Will an employer allow a person 2 week vacations every time they use pot, I'm thinking no. So don't use it.
 

tompharm

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I vote the federal govt. moving in and shutting the industry down.
 

Sparda29

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Only problem with your scenario, I believe most places are not allowed to do random drug tests, at least at my hospital they are not. You have to be suspected of using drugs on the job for a drug test to be ordered on you, and even then it cannot be right then. It'll be like a week or two down the line.

If they do get you in this kind of scenario. Go get a fake pee kit, warm it up before you go over to the lab place and when you go to the bathroom, put the fake pee in the cup and hand it to them. If you follow the instructions on the package you'll pass.
 

xiphoid2010

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Since pot lingers in your body, and it is just plausible that you smoked an hour before work vs a week ago, it is logical for the board of pharmacy to set zero tolerance. That's the difference of being a professional -- there is a professional board that self-regulates, above and beyond just the basic legality of the common public.
 

xiphoid2010

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Why? Keeping marijuana illegal is ridiculous. States might as well tax the hell out of it.
I can see both side of the coin. How much is the additional tax vs cost (accident, social and legal cost)? If I was a state, would be one in the middle: not a guninea pig (the saying goes, the brave and foolish die young), but not one to hold out on principle alone even when pragmatic net benefit has been proven either.
 

npage148

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How long do benzo metabolizes stay in your system? pharamcists still pound valium like it is water. Pots presence in plasma as detected by ridiculously sensitively assays shouldn't scare you away from using pot only during a 2 week vaca (and it can be detected for much longer)

Washington has defined dwi based on a pot blood level. Colorado has probably enacted the same idea. Probably will be don't come to work high and you'll have no issue
http://m.seattlepi.com/local/article/First-green-or-marijuana-DUI-likely-in-the-4196319.php

And public safety doesn't trump what I do on my off time as long as what I'm doing is legal
 
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Swishers

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This Colorado law is pure foolishness. I once injected a marijuana rolled up in a Swisher Sweet rillo and almost killed my pastor. God help Merica.

:troll:
 

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Even if the pharmacist comes back from 2 week vaca, and if the employer wants to play dirty, the marijuana still stays in the hair follicles, they can just ask for a hair sample at that point imo.

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BenJammin

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The state "legality" is absolutely irrelevant. 21 year olds can legally possess bourbon but being intoxicated while working can get you fired and a blood test can prove that. By the way, marijuana isn't legal in Colorado. It's not legal anywhere. What the state law says is that state officials will not prosecute so federal agents have every right to raid these businesses.
 

All4MyDaughter

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The state "legality" is absolutely irrelevant. 21 year olds can legally possess bourbon but being intoxicated while working can get you fired and a blood test can prove that. By the way, marijuana isn't legal in Colorado. It's not legal anywhere. What the state law says is that state officials will not prosecute so federal agents have every right to raid these businesses.
I agree. I think employers are still well within their rights to test and fire for positive drug screen under these circumstances.
 
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zelman

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The state "legality" is absolutely irrelevant. 21 year olds can legally possess bourbon but being intoxicated while working can get you fired and a blood test can prove that. By the way, marijuana isn't legal in Colorado. It's not legal anywhere. What the state law says is that state officials will not prosecute so ...
I said the STATE board should probably follow STATE laws and do nothing. I take it we are in agreement, then?
 
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Impaired is impaired. If you fail a drug test, you should be fired.
Alcohol isn't illegal. Yet should someone fail a breathalyzer test at work, they are impaired, on the job and will be fired. Same for pot, no matter if it's legal or not.
Professional responsibility being breached by impairment, should be reported to the board. The boards punishment is what I think your concerned with.

Pharmacists (the drug experts) knowingly working while impaired, should be dealt with in a 'draconian' manner.
I'm as liberal on the law as you'll find. However, public safety is the primary concern over the pharmacist's fun time.
If someone smokes pot, they should be prepared for a 2 week vacation or else don't smoke it. No matter if it's legal or not.
After it's washed out of the body and as long as they have not worked while impaired, I have no problem with the pharmacist going back to work.
Will an employer allow a person 2 week vacations every time they use pot, I'm thinking no. So don't use it.
This argument is wrong. You can have marijuanna in your body for 5 months. Does that mean you are impaired for 5 months? No.
Urine tests for marijuana metabolites can only show recent marijuana use, not intoxication or impairment, because of the time required between smoking and the metabolites being eliminated in the urine.
 

zelman

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This argument is wrong. You can have marijuanna in your body for 5 months. Does that mean you are impaired for 5 months? No.
Urine tests for marijuana metabolites can only show recent marijuana use, not intoxication or impairment, because of the time required between smoking and the metabolites being eliminated in the urine.
5 months? I don't think so. Single use is 4 days and habitual use is 30 days. This is per Lexi handbook. Do you have a source for 5 months?
 

eagles22

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This argument is wrong. You can have marijuanna in your body for 5 months. Does that mean you are impaired for 5 months? No.
Urine tests for marijuana metabolites can only show recent marijuana use, not intoxication or impairment, because of the time required between smoking and the metabolites being eliminated in the urine.
Unfortunately, there's no way to tell if those metabolites are from the joint you smoked 2 hours ago or 2 weeks ago. Prudent pharmacy management (and to be honest, any management of high risk areas) would dictate that one should always consider the most dangerous explanation for the positive test. (i.e. the pharmacist is under the influence) That means a positive test is going to be treated like the person is high on the job. It's the world all pharmacists live in. If you want to be able to smoke pot on your time off worry free, find a new field where your proven sobriety does not matter.
 
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Unfortunately, there's no way to tell if those metabolites are from the joint you smoked 2 hours ago or 2 weeks ago. Prudent pharmacy management (and to be honest, any management of high risk areas) would dictate that one should always consider the most dangerous explanation for the positive test. (i.e. the pharmacist is under the influence) That means a positive test is going to be treated like the person is high on the job. It's the world all pharmacists live in. If you want to be able to smoke pot on your time off worry free, find a new field where your proven sobriety does not matter.
PK of pot depends on the individual person. Everyone is different.

I disagree. What if he was a pharmacist who has been with the company for ten years with a proven track record? He also has Crohn's disease with a medical marijuana card. Are you still going to treat him like some junky who is irresponsible enough to be impaired on the job?

What about a ten year pharmacist, healthy, with a proven track record? Great pharmacist, low errors, etc.
 

Gombrich12

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PK of pot depends on the individual person. Everyone is different.

I disagree. What if he was a pharmacist who has been with the company for ten years with a proven track record? He also has Crohn's disease with a medical marijuana card. Are you still going to treat him like some junky who is irresponsible enough to be impaired on the job?

What about a ten year pharmacist, healthy, with a proven track record? Great pharmacist, low errors, etc.
And what about all the pharmacists on benzos/antidepressants/painkillers? I've seen some really messed up errors from pharmacists that make you wonder if they were under the influence of something.
 
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Dred Pirate

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Only problem with your scenario, I believe most places are not allowed to do random drug tests, at least at my hospital they are not. You have to be suspected of using drugs on the job for a drug test to be ordered on you, and even then it cannot be right then.
You have unions at your hospital? Everywhere I know you are able to be tested at any time for any reason. But then again, I live in the most union unfriendly state in the nation (a different discussion all together)
 

Sparda29

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gotta love the big city :)
A lot of the employees at my hospital never went through a background check. Back before my hospital was bought by the major health system, they used to hire kitchen employees, janitors, maids, etc right off the street. In fact, one of my techs used to be a cook for 10 years before he took a pharmacy messenger position and then got the pharmacy tech position.
 

Dred Pirate

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A lot of the employees at my hospital never went through a background check. Back before my hospital was bought by the major health system, they used to hire kitchen employees, janitors, maids, etc right off the street. In fact, one of my techs used to be a cook for 10 years before he took a pharmacy messenger position and then got the pharmacy tech position.
hell half my techs have four year degrees - although that is far from the best use of your degree.
 

Dred Pirate

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Yeah man. This guy is like a 50 year old dude, dropped out of high school, just has a GED (I think) and he's a much better tech than some of these PTCB certified bullcrap techs we have.
yup - not to go totally off topic - kinda like comparing the silver spoon kid with fancy credentials right out of pharmcy school to somebody put in their time in the school of hard knocks
 

eagles22

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PK of pot depends on the individual person. Everyone is different.

I disagree. What if he was a pharmacist who has been with the company for ten years with a proven track record? He also has Crohn's disease with a medical marijuana card. Are you still going to treat him like some junky who is irresponsible enough to be impaired on the job?

What about a ten year pharmacist, healthy, with a proven track record? Great pharmacist, low errors, etc.
Yes he will get fired because the data supports the theory that the person is inebriated while at work. Until marijuana is completely legal (which it is not federally) the employee is risking his/her job. Heroin may help someone's chronic lower back pain but that's not an excuse to test positive for that either.

Showing up messed up on your benzos because you have anxiety would be the same thing. The difference between someone using benzos and someone using marijuana is that benzos are legal, and if there are metabolites and the employee is not impaired, then no violation of law or duty has occurred.
 

Sparda29

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yup - not to go totally off topic - kinda like comparing the silver spoon kid with fancy credentials right out of pharmcy school to somebody put in their time in the school of hard knocks
Ehh kinda. The thing for me is, this guy does whatever I ask him to do. The PTCB certified techs try and think for themselves and question me.
 
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pharmacy7424

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These are all interesting points, but this was not posted as a discussion on the legality of the drug. Rather...

Say a pharamacist is given a random drug screen the next day by his employer which he knows he will not pass, and declines the test. It is fair to say he will be fired, and likely reported to state board. Would the state board still require the draconian impaird health professionals rehabilitation programs for what is not a legal use of the substance?

I don't care that the job will be lost, but rather, the end effects of the license. Discuss!
 
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Yes he will get fired because the data supports the theory that the person is inebriated while at work. Until marijuana is completely legal (which it is not federally) the employee is risking his/her job. Heroin may help someone's chronic lower back pain but that's not an excuse to test positive for that either.

Showing up messed up on your benzos because you have anxiety would be the same thing. The difference between someone using benzos and someone using marijuana is that benzos are legal, and if there are metabolites and the employee is not impaired, then no violation of law or duty has occurred.
I would like to see that data supporting a chronic smoker is inebriated for 1 month or however long it takes for the individual to get THC metabolites out of his system.
 

KidPharmD

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I assume you are talking about the Colorado state board. I would say that there is now way to predict the actions of the board on an untested area until they are presented with the opportunity or decide to draft a rule concerning this situation.
 
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Interesting article on marijuana toxication written by Dr. Matthew C. Lee, MD, RPh, MS. Here's an excerpt:

Additionally, contrary to alcohol, the a fraction Δ-9 THC from marijuana is immediately taken up by the fat cells in the body, where it is released slowly over time, and generally non-contributory to intoxication, but is the reason why marijuana can be detected in the blood so long after it is consumed (anywhere from 3 days, to a month or more, depending on a number of individual parameters).
As of 2010 there is no reliable method of quantitatively determining if a person is impaired due to marijuana consumption on blood or body fluid concentrations alone. In states that have laws against driving while under the influence of marijuana blood tests are used to support behavioral patterns observed. And given the complex pharmacology of marijuana, and multitude of individual characteristics that determine the impairment or intoxication due to marijuana consumption, it will likely be a long time before we see this technology commercially available.
Full link: http://www.hgexperts.com/article.asp?id=19974
Author's background: http://www.legalpharm.com/about-the-expert/
 

eagles22

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I would like to see that data supporting a chronic smoker is inebriated for 1 month or however long it takes for the individual to get THC metabolites out of his system.
Doesn't matter if he is/is not affected at work. You get held to a higher (get it?) standard as a pharmacist. You'd get fired for testing positive for heroin even if you last did it 2 days ago. Marijuana is still illegal federally and, thus, is still technically illegal in all states. You have metabolites which could mean you did it 2 hours ago or 2 weeks ago, and your employer is going to cover its ass by assuming the earliest time of use.
 

vinny808

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Doesn't matter if he is/is not affected at work. You get held to a higher (get it?) standard as a pharmacist. You'd get fired for testing positive for heroin even if you last did it 2 days ago. Marijuana is still illegal federally and, thus, is still technically illegal in all states. You have metabolites which could mean you did it 2 hours ago or 2 weeks ago, and your employer is going to cover its ass by assuming the earliest time of use.
Does smoking marijuana make someone in the health industry a bad person? Times are changing. Pharmacologically speaking marijuana is not that bad. Certainly, etoh is worse. Will there be a test to measure MJ sobriety in the next 10 years? What you've been saying is if a person has THC in his or her system, they are inebriated, which is wrong. Maybe you're a stern go by the syllabus/rule/law kind of guy and he's more of a read between the lines kind person.
 

eagles22

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Does smoking marijuana make someone in the health industry a bad person? Times are changing. Pharmacologically speaking marijuana is not that bad. Certainly, etoh is worse. Will there be a test to measure MJ sobriety in the next 10 years? What you've been saying is if a person has THC in his or her system, they are inebriated, which is wrong. Maybe you're a stern go by the syllabus/rule/law kind of guy and he's more of a read between the lines kind person.
Never said MJ is bad or people who use it are bad. For the record, I'm fine with people doing whatever the hell they want on their free time. Alcohol is legal. MJ is not. I don't get how people keep glossing over this fact. If our next president decides to crack down on dispensaries in Colorado, a lot of people will be going to jail. However, when you enter a field in which you care for other's health, you sacrifice the freedom to do some things in order to ensure and prove you are not impaired at your job.

I'm not saying positive test = intoxication. But positive test can = intoxication. In light of other definitive data, it's safer to censure all the positive tests than only some. If we can get a BAC equivalent for MJ and the drug is legalized (which means federally) then it's fine. In the meantime, I think pharmacists are playing with fire if they smoke and get tested regularly. You're all smart people and should be able to realize that you should play it safe and not risk your career.
 

a runner

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The fact of whether marijuana (or any other substance) is legal or not is completely irrelevant to whether an employer can require testing for it and fire someone for refusal to submit to testing or for testing positive. Also irrelevant to the employer's rights are whether or not the substance is impairing the pharmacist or other employee at work. It doesn't matter!

Marijuana smoking is not a protected class, so employer's are free to "discriminate" based on whether you use it or not. Race, gender, sexual orientation (in some states), religion, national origin? Yes, protected classes. Marijuana smoking? Not protected. Alcohol drinking? Not protected. Expressing your political views? Not protected. Get the idea? (Labor laws will apply differently in non-right-to-work states and you are part of a unionized workforce... but that's another issue).

As for the state boards... because their power is granted through the state legislature to regulate the profession (usually based on some legislation outlining the board's role), state boards should really have no business disciplining pharmacists for substance use unless the pharmacist is working impaired or breaking some kind of law. And that's where this is open to interpretation I suppose.
 
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Does smoking marijuana make someone in the health industry a bad person? Times are changing. Pharmacologically speaking marijuana is not that bad. Certainly, etoh is worse. Will there be a test to measure MJ sobriety in the next 10 years? What you've been saying is if a person has THC in his or her system, they are inebriated, which is wrong. Maybe you're a stern go by the syllabus/rule/law kind of guy and he's more of a read between the lines kind person.
I would rather have a pharmacist who smokes pot on his time off than someone who drinks excessively. Pothead > alcoholic any day of the week imo.