Recovery Plus: Workplace wellbeing your library’s essential reference September 2016 29 About the author George Powell is CEO and founder of Summit Diagnostics, with over 30 years’ experience in the clinical testing business, in both products and services. George serves on the boards of a number of laboratories and has expertise in lab start up, compliance, production and partnering with labs to assure compliance and cost containment. He is an avid supporter recovery locally and internationally – so much so that this year he became copublisher of Recovery Plus print journal. Matthew Powell is ambassadorat large for Summit Diagnostics. Escape the labyrinth of confusion and fear with a reasonable and compliant programme: George and Matthew Powell guide you to a safe place. The fear: you're scared stagnant. When the world of medicine acknowledged addiction as a disease, researchers and physicians realised that they could take on addiction using the same methods they were already using to take on disease. They found that addiction, as with other highly complex disorders, can often manifest in varied and unique ways. Unsurprisingly, the population of treatment programmes is thus varied and unique as well, even when patients are battling with similar substances of abuse. Treatment professionals without objective data to look at and keep track of are human beings. Anybody in any profession can be knocked off their game by something as simple as feeling a bit tired after eating lunch. With the sheer volume of patients and whirlwind of emotions in treatment programmes, it could be possible to accidentally miss a sign of relapse or threat of relapse in your patient. These are watershed moments in the life of a person in recovery, and for the treatment pro it is a precious opportunity to save a life by catching an at-risk client before they spin into a spiral of increasingly destructive or deadly behaviours and substance abuse. The fix: get simple (1). Use objective data first, instincts second. As with any disease, it is important to know objective data about where a patient is in the recovery process, what they are addicted to, and the level of intoxication that currently exists. As we all know, especially in prescription medications, multiple substances can be used, of which the medical professional needs to be aware to guarantee patient safety. A screening test is often performed to give an overview of a client's usage. Most facilities use a Point of Care device that gives a general overview of drug classifications. POC devices identify amphetamines, methamphetimes, barbiturates, buprenorphine (subutex, suboxone), benzodiazepines, cocaine, methadone, MDMA (ecstasy), morphine, opiates, oxycontin, PCP, tricyclics and, recently, EDDP, fentanyl and K2 (spice). These devices can bring you immediate benefits and savings by discouraging diversion and offer tests for $4/£3.60 or lower for larger panel tests. The drawbacks are that the cups are not always reliable, do not quantify levels of drug present, nor cover all categories of drugs. Laboratory-based testing, sometimes referred to as “confirmation testing”, is another option and is the most accurate available testing that can show both the levels of drugs in a person's system as well as exactly which drug is being used. The drawbacks are that laboratory-based testing takes a day or two longer than POC devices to get results so is not necessarily a good option for discouraging diversion, and the cost of these tests is higher than the less-accurate POC cups.
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