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Author Topic: Past Marijuana Use  (Read 3068 times)

Offline Johnny_Pipes

  • Posting Member
  • Posts: 1
  • PC Status: Applicant
Past Marijuana Use
« on: November 26, 2013, 06:49:21 AM »
Hello everyone,

I'm an applicant to the Peace Corps currently working out some kinks in my application. Up next will be medical. I'm a little worried about this one, because there's an incident in my past that might effect my eligibility.

So basically, almost four years ago, I had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized. It was thought that I might have bipolar disorder, but after nearly four years with regular evaluations, no medication and no symptoms, it's pretty clear that I don't have it and the episode was just a one-time thing. I've taken the whole thing very seriously and it doesn't appear anything like that will happen again. However, there's something else related to the episode that has me a little worried.

One reason I know the episode would NOT be recurring was that it was related to heavy cannabis use (at least, heavy for me.) It was my way of coping with a difficult time, which I know now is not a good idea, and it sure didn't help my mental state. I'm aware of the Peace Corps policy on illegal drug use, but two things: 1) it's been over four years since that incident, and the Peace Corps says they overlook charges over a year old; and 2) there was no legal involvement with the incident whatsoever. I wasn't arrested, wasn't charged, and I admitted myself into the hospital.

Basically, I'm wondering how both previous mental health issues and previous cannabis use might effect my application. The cannabis use isn't on my criminal record its on the medical evaluation, but do I even have to disclose it since it's PHI? Would it be a problem if I did?

I'm guessing that I'm not the first Peace Corps volunteer to have a history with cannabis use. Any insight or advice would be greatly appreciated. Given the nature of this topic, feel free to send me a private message rather than post here.

Yours,

Johnny_Pipes

Offline Khaleesi

  • Posting Member
  • Posts: 11
  • PC Status: Applicant
Re: Past Marijuana Use
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 08:27:56 PM »
I do not think you have to disclose the cannabis usage. Of greater concern is your mental health history--be prepared to jump through a lot of hoops to get medically pre-cleared or cleared. They will probably have you see psychiatrist(s?) and get evaluated by them. If they do ask for your records from your hospitalization, you may have to disclose the cannabis usage then. In that case, I wouldn't worry about the cannabis because it was so long ago.

Matt

  • Guest
Re: Past Marijuana Use
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 01:03:40 PM »
Unless you did not state that you had previous mental health problems or had seen a mental health professional on your application (I can't remember how they word it), they may ask for a letter or documentation from whoever was treating you to describe the symptoms, treatment and whether or not they may 're-appear' during your PC service. And in that letter, I might get mentioned there.  When talking to my recruiter, she made it seem that 'honesty' was the best policy especially if there were records.  If things are brought up early and upfront, they can be considered but if something pops up later as a redflag and is through their discovery, they may not be so leniant/understanding.  The application process has changed a bit since I applied only 5 years ago, so maybe the rules/regulations for the mental health issues have changed?