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California State Board of Pharmacy

Pharmacist Recovery Program

Why this Program?

Substance abuse can strike anyone. A recent study indicated that 46% of the pharmacists and 62% of the pharmacy students studied had used controlled substances at some time without a prescription. That does not mean that everyone who has used drugs improperly becomes a substance abuser, but highly educated and trained health professionals are not immune to alcoholism, other chemical dependencies or mental illness. Indeed, their greater access to abusable substances may increase potential risk.

The Pharmacists Recovery Program provides a significant resource toward solving such problems for both pharmacists and registered pharmacy interns.

Problems Grow

Problems can become more serious and more difficult to solve when not recognized quickly. If you are too close to the problem, you lose objectivity, and half-hearted or misdirected efforts often serve only to increase frustration and stress, making the problem seem unsolvable. For the pharmacist or pharmacy student, substance abuse or mental illness can impair one's professional judgment, putting at risk one's professional career and, even worse, one's life.

What is the Program?

The purpose of the Pharmacists Recovery Program is to identify and evaluate the nature and severity of the chemical dependency and/or mental illness, develop a treatment plan contract, monitor participation and provide encouragement and support. In the quickest, most confidential and least stressful manner possible, the individual receives the proper help to face the problem, deal with it and, if possible, return to the profession as a contributing member.

Through this program, the chemically dependent or mentally troubled pharmacist is provided with the hope and assistance required for a successful recovery.

Who Provides the Service?

The California State Board of Pharmacy contracts with Maximus, Inc. to provide confidential assessment, referral, and monitoring services for the Pharmacists Recovery Program. Maximus has a network of professionals throughout California specializing in the treatment of alcohol or other drug abuse and mental illness problems.

Who Can Refer to the Program?

This rehabilitation and treatment program accepts referrals on a voluntary basis. Any licensed pharmacist or registered intern in California who is experiencing alcohol or other drug abuse or mental illness can voluntarily seek assistance by contacting a 24-hour toll-free number. All voluntary requests for information and assistance are strictly confidential; this information is not subject to discovery or subpoena. Arrangements will be made for the individual to meet with a licensed professional who will make a confidential evaluation and develop a treatment plan. Pharmacists who use the program are assured that their problem and its nature will remain confidential.

Family, friends, employers, and professional colleagues are also encouraged to contact the program for information and assistance.

An Alternative for the Board of Pharmacy

The Board of Pharmacy also uses the program for pharmacists who are chemically dependent or mentally impaired. Under the Pharmacists Recovery Program, the board may refer a pharmacist to the program in lieu of discipline if there has been no other significant violation of the pharmacy law. In cases that involve a serious violation, the board may refer a pharmacist to the program in addition to discipline.

How to Obtain Services

If you have a problem or live or work with a pharmacist who does, call the Pharmacists Recovery Program toll-free at (800) 522-9198. Your call will be confidential.