PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY CONCERNING FENTANYL AND FENTANYL-LACED SUBSTANCES

Board of Massage Licensure

Peer Assistance

The Board of Massage Licensure has contracted with the Tennessee Professional Assistance Program, to assist in safeguarding health care consumers in Tennessee by providing a consultation, referral, and monitoring program for Massage Therapy Practitioners whose practice is impaired or potentially could be impaired due to the use of alcohol or drugs, or a psychological or physiological condition.

Facts about Chemical Dependency and Health Professionals

·        Chemical dependency is a chronic, progressive illness that can be treated effectively. As with all chronic illnesses, the earlier the identification and treatment, the better the prognosis.

·        Chemical dependency can be simply defined as the continued use of alcohol or other mood-altering drugs even after negative consequences have been experienced. Negative consequences can be in the form of problems at work, damaged relationships, legal charges, and many others.

·        Approximately one out of every ten health professionals has, or will develop, a serious problem with alcohol or some other mood-altering chemical substance at some time in their career.

·        Health professionals may face a higher risk of chemical dependency because of the stress of their profession; knowledge regarding the dosage and effects of mood-altering drugs; the tendency to self-diagnose and self-prescribe; and practical experience focusing on others' needs instead of their own.

·        Warning signs and symptoms of a drug or alcohol problem may include any or all of the following: mood swings, inappropriate behavior at work, frequent days off for implausible reasons, non-compliance with acceptable policies and procedures, deteriorating appearance, deteriorating job performance, sloppy and illegible charting, errors in charting, alcohol on breath, forgetfulness, poor judgment, poor concentration, and frequent untruthfulness.

·        The hallmark sign of chemical dependency is DENIAL. Denial is a psychological defense mechanism that most people use subconsciously to keep themselves from realizing how serious a problem really is. Professionals with chemical dependency are experts at minimizing their problem and convincing others that everything is "under control."

Objectives of the Peer Assistance Program

·        Protect health care consumers from potentially unsafe practitioners

·        Offer treatment options, monitoring, and advocacy to practitioners, employers, and health profession students on chemical dependency

Benefits of the Peer Assistance Program

·        Protection of the public by early intervention and removal of the impaired practitioner from practice

·        An alternative to disciplinary action is available to the practitioner - no report is made to the Board of Massage Licensure if the practitioner is compliant with treatment recommendations and the Peer Assistance Program contract.

·      Advocacy for the practitioner with employers, potential employers, and the Board of Massage Licensure if needed.

Eligible Massage Therapy Practitioners

·        Massage Therapy Applicants as referred by the Board of Massage Licensure

·        Massage Therapists and Massage Establishment Operators

To Make a Referral

·        CALL 615-726-4001

·        A referral to TnPAP can be made confidentially by an employer, employee assistance program professional, a co-worker, practice partner, family member, friend, or the practitioner him/herself.

·        The person making the referral needs to provide objective information including times, dates, and incidents that support the allegation of impairment.

·        Information is kept confidential unless the practitioner is referred by the licensing board and/or is noncompliant with the program requirements. 

Contact the Peer Assistance Program to:

·        Obtain more information about the program

·        Ask general questions about impaired health care professionals

·        Consult with program staff about a specific professional with a suspected problem

·        Report a health care professional with a suspected or identified problem

·       Provide chemical dependency education to schools, professional associations and other organizations through access to e-learning (tnpap.org)

Tennessee Professional Assistance Program
545 Mainstream Drive Suite 414
Nashville, TN 37228-1210

Phone:  615-726-4001
Toll Free: 800-776-0786
Fax:  615-726-4003

E-mail: elaine@tnpap.org