4 W.Va. nurses allowed to work amid drug test woes

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An audit says a state board let four nurses in substance abuse programs return to work despite failing or not taking drug tests.

Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred wrote that the state Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses let nurses practice after abusing drugs like ephedrine, hydrocodone, opiates and cocaine.

One nurse's drug citations date back to 2008. The audit says the nurse once practiced 15 months before action was taken.

Other recovering nurses didn't schedule drug tests, paid $250 fines and kept working. One nurse was allowed to practice with restrictions after testing positive for drugs stolen from a hospital.

The audit says board actions appear to favor protecting professionals at the public's expense.

Board staff responded in the audit that nurses deserve multiple chances to regain licenses.

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