Can mental health history and past drug use affect professional licenses?

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2024 | Professional License Issues |

A professional license is one of the most important resources of many professionals’ careers, as it signifies their qualifications and ability to practice within their field. Not qualifying for or losing your license may mean losing the ability to pursue your career as intended, which can result in significant professional, financial and personal repercussions.

Senate Bill 637 of 2020 lifted the restrictions on acquiring occupational licenses based on past criminal convictions such as prohibited drug use or possession. This means that licensing bodies in Pennsylvania can no longer deny an individual a professional license solely based on past criminal convictions.

Circumstances under which your history may not be used against you

During licensing proceedings, your mental health history and past drug use may not be used against you if the following conditions are met.

There is no impairment during practice

If there is no impairment during practice and you can demonstrate that you are currently fit to perform the duties of your profession safely and competently, your mental health history and past drug use generally may not be used against you during licensing proceedings. This is in line with efforts to prioritize current competence and ability over past issues, acknowledging that individuals can overcome challenges and maintain their professional capabilities.

Completion of rehabilitation programs

Proof of completion of rehabilitation programs can also significantly mitigate any concerns related to past mental health issues or drug use. By successfully completing such programs, you demonstrate a commitment to addressing and managing any underlying issues, thereby reducing the likelihood of future problems affecting your practice.

Demonstration of continued competence

Demonstration of continued competence through ongoing education, training and professional development activities can further support your case during licensing proceedings. By staying current with advancements in your field and continuously improving your skills, you showcase your dedication to maintaining the highest standards of practice despite any past challenges.

Seeking legal counsel can prove invaluable in defending your rights and ensuring that due process is followed when it comes to licensing proceedings.