Security Clearance Denial

Using Prescription Drugs Without a Prescription has Consequences

Oxycodone, when prescribed by a physician, is a legal means of dealing with or managing pain. It is also highly addictive, which is why physicians are very careful in how much and how long they prescribe its use. So, what happens when the prescription runs out and someone has become addicted? Quite often they turn to someone they know who has a prescription and ask to use theirs, or they turn to the lively illegal street market. Security clearance applicants should be aware (especially those who may have to take a polygraph) that misuse of prescription drugs is just as serious as using illegal drugs. A recent Department of Energy (DOE) appeals case highlighted exactly that. Here are the highlights:

The DOE contractor was selected for a random drug test and tested positive for oxycodone and admitted to not having a prescription. As a result, his clearance was suspended pending further review and subsequently revoked. The contractor appealed the decision and in his testimony to the board, asserted that the reason for the positive drug test was due to his mom giving him her medication after noticing he was in pain while doing some yard work. He claimed this was the first and only time he took medication not prescribed to him. No witnesses were presented that could corroborate his claim, not even his session with a drug treatment program counselor who purportedly stated his case was different than most cases she saw.

The judge determined that although the contractor had completed the required drug education classes and had acknowledged his lapse in judgement by misusing prescription drugs, he had not presented any testimony from witnesses, for example, his mom or the drug counselor, that would corroborate his abstinence. The three months elapsed since the last negative drug test was not enough to sway the judge in reinstating clearance eligibility. You can read the case summary here.

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