The Program’s Secundum Artem - Pharmacy professionals assisting and caring for their peers and colleagues
It is the mission of the North Dakota PharmAssist Program to provide hope, help, support, and education for all pharmacy professionals including pharmacists, pharmacy students, and interns, and technicians struggling with substance abuse issues. These issues are addressed with the help and support of compassionate, caring pharmacy colleagues.
- We value the patient and their safety above all;
-We value every pharmacy professional;
- We value open, honest communication and personal respect.
The goals of the ND Pharm-Assist Program include: providing continual support and assistance to any pharmacy professional preventing the loss of a professional career, preserving the professional’s reputation and restoring the individual’s ability to practice competent and professional pharmacy while keeping the patient safety in mind.
Through this program, members of our pharmacy family can receive help from caring colleagues in a confidential, non-coercive and non-punitive manner.
Who we are and what we do:
The PharmAssist program (since 1988) is a voluntary, confidential, non-coercive and non-punitive program for impaired pharmacists, interns, technicians and pharmacy students (pharmacy professionals) who are in need of support and assistance for either alcohol or chemical abuse, or other stressors.
We understand the fears and concerns of a pharmacy professional impaired by drugs or alcohol. The program is based on the belief that as valued members of the healthcare team, pharmacy professionals are accountable to their patients, the profession, and themselves. We further believe the profession has a responsibility to provide a mechanism which assists pharmacy professionals in recognizing self or peer impairment from drugs or alcohol.
We help to facilitate prevention, identification, intervention, and rehabilitation for North Dakota pharmacists who have, or are at risk for developing disorders, which are associated with functional impairment, or suffering from chemical abuse or dependency, mental health issues, or behavioral problems. The purpose of the program is to assist pharmacy professionals and their families in identifying alcohol, drug, or behavioral problems that pose a potential threat to that professional, the family, or the patients/clients.
We will work to identify and facilitate acute treatment and to provide long-term support and monitoring for the pharmacy professional to return to a productive place within the pharmacy profession, if (s)he chooses. While the program provides no direct counseling, treatment, or aftercare services, it does support and endorses the development of self-help groups at the local level.
North Dakota has a reporting requirement. This means that:
How it Works:
1. Once a committee member from the Pharm-Assist Program receives a request for assistance, one of the monitors will initiate steps to verify expressed concerns.
2. If there is sufficient reason for concern, the monitor will arrange for a personal visit with the person and other involved individuals where the pharmacy professional will be encouraged to seek help voluntarily.
3. An initial evaluation to assess the need for treatment will be provided at no charge to the person.
4. A program member will assist the pharmacy professional in entering treatment. (S)he will maintain contact and provide encouragement and support during and after treatment (if treatment is recommended).
5. The program will provide support during re-entry into practice.
Pharmacy Professionals Helping Pharmacy Professionals
Committee members have a genuine concern about the welfare of its colleagues seeking assistance.
If a person has direct knowledge about an impaired pharmacist, intern, technician, or pharmacy student and they are concerned, they should contact the ND Pharm-Assist Program. The person reporting could be a colleague, spouse, family member, employer, employee, concerned citizen, or even the impaired pharmacist, intern or technician him/herself.
The Board of Pharmacy IS NOT contacted when a pharmacist, intern or technician becomes involved with the program. ALL information is kept strictly confidential.
A pharmacist, intern, technician or pharmacy student in need of assistance who refuses to seek help is a danger to the health and welfare of the community. In such cases, the program MUST notify the Board of Pharmacy Investigating Committee, but not the Board of Pharmacy itself.
Contacting the Pharm-Assist Program
ND Pharm-Assist Program
NDPhA – phone 701-258-4968
Mike Riepl – Advisory Member Chantal Weisenburger
wk: 701-224-9521 wk: 701-224-9521
hm: 701-989-1804 cell: 701-220-0856
Agnes Harrington – Advisory Member
Brianne Wilcox Mary Stende Miller
cell: 701-866-1983 cell:701-793-6009
Melissa Halvorson Melissa Fiedler
cell: 701-793-8421 cell: 701-793-3868
Kim Essler – Advisory Member
Tim Carlson – Advisory Member
Kerri Ring – Advisory Member Marla Erickson – Advisory Member
wk: 701-857-5550 hm: 701-338-2868
cell: 701-720-5393 cell: 701-720-0222
Terry Dick – Advisory Member
You may contact any member of the ND Pharm-Assist Committee by Phone, email or letter.
Requests for assistance will initiate steps for the appropriate contact.
NORTH DAKOTA CENTURY CODE 43-15-42.3 Reporting Requirements.
“A pharmacist, pharmacy permit holder, a pharmacy intern, a pharmacy technician, a healthcare institution in the state, a state agency, or law enforcement agency in the state having any actual knowledge that a pharmacist, a pharmacy intern, or a pharmacy technician, may have committed any of the grounds for disciplinary action provided by law or rules adopted by the board shall promptly report that information in writing to the board of pharmacy. A pharmacist, pharmacy technician or any institution from which the pharmacist or pharmacy technician voluntarily resigns, or voluntarily limits their staff privileges, shall report that licensee’s actions to the board of pharmacy, if that action occurs while the licensee is under formal or informal investigation by the institution, or a committee of the institution for any reason related to possible professional incompetence, unprofessional conduct, or mental or physical impairment. Upon receiving a report concerning a licensee or registrant, the board’s investigative committee may investigate any evidence that appears to show a licensee or registrant is, or may have committed any of the grounds for disciplinary action provided by law or rules adopted by the board. A person required to report under this section who makes a report in good faith is not subject to criminal prosecution or civil liability for making the report. For purposes of any civil proceeding, the good faith of any person who makes the report to this section is presumed. A report to the impaired pharmacist program (the Pharm-Assist Committee) of the North Dakota pharmacists association, will be considered reporting under this statute. For purposes of this section, a person has actual knowledge if that person acquired the information by personal observation or under circumstances that cause that person to believe there exists a substantial likelihood that the information is correct. An agency or health care institution that violates this section is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. A pharmacist, pharmacy permit holder, a pharmacy intern, or a pharmacy technician who violates this section is subject to administrative action by the North Dakota state board of pharmacy as specified by law or by administrative rule.”