Aug 23, 2016
2
1
Status
Pharmacy Student
Hello.

I am a pharmacy student, and I successfully completed a summer internship with a retail pharmacy chain. However, shortly after completion of the internship I was terminated for failing a drug screen. I understand the mistake I have made and deeply regret my decision to use an illegal substance that weekend. I am not a consistent user by any means; it was more of an experimentation, and I had some nasty bad luck. I know I will pass all future drug screens.

My boss told me the news and sadly "let me go." She said she would vouch for me in the future as a great employee, etc. She also said that the company is not allowed to share exactly why I was terminated, but only that I "broke company policy." Moving forward, I am nervous about employment verifications and what they entail. I want to apply to residency and specialize, but am afraid that this mistake will hold me back from doing so. Does anyone have any advice for me? How can I work through this problem? What do I have to worry about and be prepared for?

Part of me wants to come clean and admit my mistake if it comes to that point, but I, of course, am incredibly nervous to do that. I do not want this mistake to ruin my future career plans. In addition, I would feel terrible if I get LORs and people to vouch for me, only to be turned down due to something like this. Thank you for your input!
 

lord999

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15+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2002
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Pharmacist, Academic Administration
Hello.

I am a pharmacy student, and I successfully completed a summer internship with a retail pharmacy chain. However, shortly after completion of the internship I was terminated for failing a drug screen. I understand the mistake I have made and deeply regret my decision to use an illegal substance that weekend. I am not a consistent user by any means; it was more of an experimentation, and I had some nasty bad luck. I know I will pass all future drug screens.

My boss told me the news and sadly "let me go." She said she would vouch for me in the future as a great employee, etc. She also said that the company is not allowed to share exactly why I was terminated, but only that I "broke company policy." Moving forward, I am nervous about employment verifications and what they entail. I want to apply to residency and specialize, but am afraid that this mistake will hold me back from doing so. Does anyone have any advice for me? How can I work through this problem? What do I have to worry about and be prepared for?

Part of me wants to come clean and admit my mistake if it comes to that point, but I, of course, am incredibly nervous to do that. I do not want this mistake to ruin my future career plans. In addition, I would feel terrible if I get LORs and people to vouch for me, only to be turned down due to something like this. Thank you for your input!
She also said that the company is not allowed to share exactly why I was terminated, but only that I "broke company policy." Moving forward, I am nervous about employment verifications and what they entail. I want to apply to residency and specialize, but am afraid that this mistake will hold me back from doing so. Does anyone have any advice for me? How can I work through this problem? What do I have to worry about and be prepared for?

I don't think your boss has it right if it's one of the big three. Someone who is an RxS or DM can weigh in, but I know Walgreens as of 2008 would always answer with candor to those requests if stated directly from the Board or the Government. If you are going to work for government (VA or other sort of residency), you are going to be asked the question during your background security investigation, especially for derogatory information. If the stories do not match up (broke company policy is enough(, it's enough to deny appointment. If you are directly asked the question in your background investigation and are not forthcoming truthfully (so white lying saying that you broke company policy when you are asked if you had a disciplinary infraction for drug use), it's worse than just not getting the job, that gets referred to the US Attorney for action (and almost always taken by them).

https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf85.pdf

This is the MINIMUM form used for all pharmacists in the civil service (non-sensitive). Question 14 is the matter. We know it as VETPRO in the VA, but it's pretty much the standard form everywhere.

Here's something else, I actually have had pharmacists go before my Professional Standards Board for processing who attached a sheet (in one case, sheets) and blanket admitted every single infraction on Question 14 including possession of amounts that would be considered trafficking on top of use. We hired them as they did not have recent use and it wasn't egregious use. And to top it off, we are not allowed to use admission on this form against you for Board or US Attorney criminal matters if the candidate answers truthfully with the whole truth (so you won't get blackmailed by us even for Fed MSG 10 offenses). However, if you lie on the form when going through the application and the OPM staff figure that out, you will be dealt with severely by OPM. The way the question is stated to your corporation HR, they are compelled to answer that unambiguously and honestly (was your employee disciplined for illegal drug offenses or drug test policy matters?).

And, we're all human. Some of us have private issues and some public, but suitability is more based on current and post-incident behavior.
 
OP
J
Aug 23, 2016
2
1
Status
Pharmacy Student
She also said that the company is not allowed to share exactly why I was terminated, but only that I "broke company policy." Moving forward, I am nervous about employment verifications and what they entail. I want to apply to residency and specialize, but am afraid that this mistake will hold me back from doing so. Does anyone have any advice for me? How can I work through this problem? What do I have to worry about and be prepared for?

I don't think your boss has it right if it's one of the big three. Someone who is an RxS or DM can weigh in, but I know Walgreens as of 2008 would always answer with candor to those requests if stated directly from the Board or the Government. If you are going to work for government (VA or other sort of residency), you are going to be asked the question during your background security investigation, especially for derogatory information. If the stories do not match up (broke company policy is enough(, it's enough to deny appointment. If you are directly asked the question in your background investigation and are not forthcoming truthfully (so white lying saying that you broke company policy when you are asked if you had a disciplinary infraction for drug use), it's worse than just not getting the job, that gets referred to the US Attorney for action (and almost always taken by them).

https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/sf85.pdf

This is the MINIMUM form used for all pharmacists in the civil service (non-sensitive). Question 14 is the matter. We know it as VETPRO in the VA, but it's pretty much the standard form everywhere.

Here's something else, I actually have had pharmacists go before my Professional Standards Board for processing who attached a sheet (in one case, sheets) and blanket admitted every single infraction on Question 14 including possession of amounts that would be considered trafficking on top of use. We hired them as they did not have recent use and it wasn't egregious use. And to top it off, we are not allowed to use admission on this form against you for Board or US Attorney criminal matters if the candidate answers truthfully with the whole truth (so you won't get blackmailed by us even for Fed MSG 10 offenses). However, if you lie on the form when going through the application and the OPM staff figure that out, you will be dealt with severely by OPM. The way the question is stated to your corporation HR, they are compelled to answer that unambiguously and honestly (was your employee disciplined for illegal drug offenses or drug test policy matters?).

And, we're all human. Some of us have private issues and some public, but suitability is more based on current and post-incident behavior.

Thank you very much for your unbiased answer. From what you say, I understand that simply telling the truth is going to be my best option. I cannot try to hide what happened. All I can do is learn from my mistake and hopefully a potential employer/residency program will see that in me. Personally, I truly feel that I have matured and grown from this experience. I just need to show that when I explain my situation.
 
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