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PSH-13-0074 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

Personnel Security Hearing (PSH-13-0074).  On September 19, 2013, an OHA Hearing Officer issued a decision in which he determined that the DOE should restore an individual’s access authorization.  As a security concern under 10 C.F.R. Part 710, a Local Security Office cited the report of the DOE psychologist, in which he concluded that the individual met criteria found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-TR (DSM-IV-TR) for Opioid Dependence, and that this condition causes, or may cause, a significant defect in judgment and reliability.  In accord with the hearing testimony of the DOE psychologist, the Hearing Officer found that there was a low risk that the individual’s condition would, in the future, cause significant defects in his judgment or reliability.  First, the Hearing Officer noted that the individual has been using prescribed opioid medications for approximately 10 years, and that this use resulted in an incident of concern only once over that period of time.  Second, while the Hearing Officer found that the individual’s use of more than the prescribed amount of medication in response to his severe pain in January 2013 represented a lapse in judgment and reliability, he also found that the individual exercised good judgment by following the proper protocol when he ran short on his prescribed dosage, by notifying his medical provider of that fact, who prescribed him enough medication to tide him over during the remaining days of his regular prescription.  Reducing the risk even further was the fact that the individual is scheduled for double knee replacement surgery within the next two months, which the DOE psychologist described as the “best chance” of ridding him of his dependence on narcotic drugs.  The Hearing Officer therefore concluded that the DOE should restore the individual’s access authorization.

Steven Goering - Hearing Officer