Recruiters at the Washington State Patrol are concerned about the number of State Patrol applicants who report using prescription drugs obtained from friends or relatives for otherwise legitimate medical issues.
It’s dangerous to use prescription medicine that’s been prescribed to someone else. Those with aspirations of working in law enforcement need to know it’s also a felony.
“These candidates may have taken the drugs for legitimate medical conditions, and might well have been prescribed the same drugs had they gone to a doctor,” said Capt. Jeff DeVere, commander of the Patrol’s Human Resource Division. “Getting them from a friend is an illegal drug transaction, and will likely disqualify you from employment as a state trooper.”
A coming wave of retirements among troopers means that the patrol is hiring at an unprecedented rate. Several months ago, the patrol struggled to find candidates who were in sufficiently good physical condition. After a wave of public education, candidates are showing up ready to do sit-ups, push-ups and to run.
Now, prescription drug use is the latest obstacle to hiring.
“If you roll your ankle playing pickup basketball, or get a migraine during finals week, go to your doctor not your roommate,” DeVere said.
In doing background investigations, the state patrol looks at the entire person and not just isolated incidents. However, any kind of illegal drug use places a burden on the candidate that is hard to overcome.
The patrol is not concerned about drugs, of whatever type, that might have been legally prescribed by a doctor. A medical exam that includes disclosure of current medical conditions is a separate part of the hiring process. That exam will determine if the applicant is in good enough health to perform the essential job functions of a trooper.