Iowa Pharmacy Recovery Network
Providing direction as a confidential resource
Where do you turn when you or someone you care about needs help with an addiction or psychiatric disorder? IPRN serves as a confidential resource. Our mission is to help identify impairment and assist individuals in getting the help they need.
Providing support through caring volunteers
IPRN volunteers understand addiction and psychiatric disorders and can help provide a second chance to those who need it. Volunteers will help arrange for an evalution, treatment and aftercare support. They also serve as advocates for the recovering individual in coping with professional and personal issues resulting from impairment and recovery.
Providing education about impairment
IPRN provides educational programs and information to pharmacy professionals about addictions and psychiatric disorders.
Newsletter – March 2011
What Can I Do If I Suspect Impairment?
It is difficult to take an initiative and get help for someone you care about. But it is more difficult to watch a colleague's personal an professional life fall apart. We need your help to make a difference to each and every pharmacy professional with a chemical dependency problem. IPRN can only be successful if we all work together to recognize chemical dependency as a disease and know that each intervention will positively affect a persons' life. Please contact IPRN at
Emily@proheights.com if you notice the following symptoms of impairment:
- Change in work or school attendance or performance
- Alteration of personal appearance
- Mood swings, attitude change or unusual patterns of behavior
- Withdrawal from responsibilities, family and friends
Chemical Dependency as a Disease
In order to understand what the Iowa Pharmacy Recovery Network was designed to accomplish, it is first important to understand chemical dependency as a disease. Over 40 years ago, the general population did not accept those with chemical dependency as people who needed to be treated; they simply saw it as a character flaw. Then, in 1956, the American Medical Association formally recognized alcoholism as a disease. If you understand this concept, you will understand the mission of the Iowa Pharmacy Recovery Network.
As Vernon Johnson outlines in his book, Intervention, you would not blame a child for coming down with the flu. Instead, you would take your child to the doctor, have the disease properly diagnosed, and do whatever you could to speed your child on the way to recovery. Similarly, you cannot blame the chemically dependent person for being chemically dependent. What you can do is help him or her to get the care that is needed.
Estimates place the incidence of chemical dependency in the pharmacy profession at about 15%. If this estimate is accurate, Iowa potentially has
418 impaired pharmacists, in addition to pharmacy students and technicians. IPRN has been designed to work with impaired pharmacy professionals in a compassionate and non-punitive manner by providing confidential assistance in locating appropriate rehabilitative services and serving as an advocate for their re-entry into the profession.
The Iowa Pharmacy Recovery Network, Inc. (IPRN) is a monitoring and advocacy peer-review program for the purpose of assisting impaired pharmacy professionals, including pharmacists, pharmacy students and pharmacy technicians, whose dependency and/or disability is potentially threatening to professional performance and public safety. Service provided by IPRN are intended to be in the best interest of the professional and the public. IPRN's activities are designed to preserve the involved professional's reputation and ability to render competent and quality pharmaceutical care.
Visit their Web site at
Activities of the Iowa Pharmacy Recovery Network, Inc. are administered by the Iowa Pharmacy Association, coordinated through the IPRN Committee, and carried out by caring and competent IPRN volunteers throughout the state of Iowa.
How Does IPRN Work?
The Iowa Pharmacy Recovery Network serves as a confidential resource to assist impaired pharmacists, pharmacy students and pharmacy technicians obtain an evaluation, treatment, aftercare, support, and as a mechanism for reentry into the profession of pharmacy. Contact with IPRN is made through the impaired person; a concerned family member, friend or co-worker; a college of pharmacy; or the board of pharmacy.
In the event IPRN receives information about an impaired professional from the actual professional, a concerned person, or a college of pharmacy, the case is handled completely confidentially. IPRN works to verify the concerns and then takes steps to assist the professional in receiving an evaluation and the subsequent treatment and aftercare support needed to remain a viable member of the profession of pharmacy. IPRN will work with an impaired professional’s family and co-workers for a period of at least five years to assure successful recovery and reentry into the profession.
In the event a pharmacy professional has already been disciplined by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, the Iowa Pharmacy Recovery Network may get involved in the professional’s aftercare process through a stipulation of their probation or suspension status.
What is IPRN’s relationship with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy (IBOP)?
In 1997, legislation was passed which allowed the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to increase the licensure and re-licensure fees of pharmacists in order to support the Iowa Pharmacy Recovery Network. The IBOP’s rules on
Impaired Pharmacy Professional and Technician Recovery Program, further detailed this arrangement with IPRN. As of 1998, 10% of pharmacist license, pharmacy intern license, and pharmacy technician registration fees are provided to fund the IPRN program. A contract recognizing IPRN as a peer assistance program has been in place between IPRN and IBOP since September, 1998.
IPRN’s activities are completely confidential. The IBOP is typically involved only to the extent of knowing the situations anonymously, by case number. (IC 155A.39 and
IAC 657 Chapter 30) The cases which are required to be reported to the entire board of pharmacy, with a requirement for investigation and possible disciplinary action, are those where there is imminent danger to the public or to the IPRN volunteers; the individual has diverted controlled substances for reasons other than their own use; or the individual does not cooperate with IPRN’s recommendations.
Initial contact with IPRN is confidential. IPRN staff typically don’t ask the name of the person during initial contact, rather work with the caller to help them get comfortable with the process and the steps that will be taken. When the impaired professional signs a contract with IPRN, IPRN agrees to keep their case confidential. Such confidentiality will be maintained to the point the participant is compliant with the terms of his/her contract and continues to demonstrate sound professional standards in pharmacy practice. All pharmacy professionals participating in an IPRN contract are aware their contract includes a stipulated consent which allows IPRN to report infractions to the Board.
How Do I Get Involved?
The Iowa Pharmacy Recovery Network is always in need of caring volunteers. Please contact
Emily Dykstra at firstname.lastname@example.org, IPRN staff, or Bruce Alexander at
email@example.com, IPRN Chair if you are interested in serving as a volunteer or in finding out more information. The profession needs you to make a difference!
There are many roles for volunteers, including monitoring impaired professionals for compliance with their IPRN contract, and providing peer support and assistance to impaired professionals as they enter treatment and recovery. IPRN will assure that volunteers are adequately trained and educated so they can most effectively work with clients throughout the state.
One excellent source of education on chemical dependency is the Utah School on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies. IPRN has provided support to many volunteers over the years to attend this internationally recognized program which serves to increase awareness of the health and social problems of alcoholism and other drug dependencies, particularly in the pharmacy profession.
All Initial Contact is Confidential
A 24-hour toll-free telephone number is available so that issues can be addressed on a more urgent level. The number is staffed from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. During other times, a confidential voice mail system will take a message from the caller. The phone call will be returned as soon as possible during business hours and the impairment issue will be addressed immediately following the return phone call. The need for a 24 hour phone number is currently being assessed.
By e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org