North Dakota Pharmacist Assistance Program: Pharm-Assist
“Pharmacists Helping Members of the Pharmacy Family”
A Prescription for Good Health
The North Dakota Pharm-Assist Program is a voluntary program for impaired pharmacists, interns, technicians and pharmacy students who are in need of support and assistance for either alcohol or chemical abuse, or other stressors.
Through this program, members of the pharmacy family can receive help from caring colleagues in a confidential, non-coercive and non-punitive manner.
Impaired individuals can be helped with the following:
- Substance abuse education
- Awareness of factors leading to impairment
- Understanding the warning signs of impairment
- Help from the ND Pharm-Assist Program
The goals of the ND Pharm-Assist Program include: providing continual support and assistance to the pharmacist, intern, technician, or pharmacy student preventing the loss of a professional career, preserving the pharmacist’s, intern’s or technician’s professional reputation and restoring the individual’s ability to practice competent and professional pharmacy.
How It Works
- Once a committee member from the Pharm-Assist Program receives a request for assistance, one of the co-chairs will initiate steps to verify expressed concerns.
- If there is sufficient reason for concern, the co-chair will arrange for a personal visit with the person and other involved individuals.
- The pharmacist, intern, technician or pharmacy student will be encouraged to seek help voluntarily. An initial evaluation to assess the need for treatment will be provided at no charge to the person.
- A program member will assist the pharmacist, intern, technician, or pharmacy student in entering treatment. He/She will maintain contact and provide encouragement and support during and after treatment.
- The program will provide support after treatment and 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. That person 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.
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.”
Contacting the Pharm-Assist Program
You may contact any member of the ND Pharm-Assist Committee by phone or email. Requests for assistance will initiate steps for appropriate contact.
NDPhA – phone 701-258-4968 or fax 701-258-9312
Larry E Nelson
Mary Stende Miller