Substance Abuse Professionals in Bristol
** Substance Abuse Professional Consultations are no longer available at Thriveworks Bristol **
As an employee of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in a supervisory position, you are subject to certain guidelines and regulations. When you were hired for the position, a drug and alcohol screening was part of the process. You passed this test–as is required by the DOT–in order to be hired.
Now that you are employed by the DOT, you are required to participate in random drug and alcohol screenings. In addition, drug and alcohol screenings are part of the investigations that follow accidents that occur on the job. If you fail a screening after being hired, you are required to undergo an assessment with a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).
At Thriveworks Bristol, the SAPs are certified, trained and have knowledge of the requirements of the SAP process. They evaluate employees who have violated DOT drug and alcohol program regulations and make recommendations about the education, treatment, follow-up testing and aftercare of the employee.
As a monitor of the process, the SAP plays a critical role–to the employee and the employer, as well as in the safety of the millions of people who travel throughout the nation. The SAP’s responsibility to the public is paramount, and the role he plays is a very important one.
The Role of the SAP
At Thriveworks Bristol, the SAPs are professionally licensed and have credentials necessary to be in this role. SAPs are responsible for the following items.
- Conducts an initial, face-to-face employee evaluation and clinical assessment to determine the level of assistance necessary for an employee who is identified as having alcohol and/or drug-associated problems.
- Recommends and refers the employee to an appropriate education and/or treatment program, as well as aftercare.
- Monitors progress of the employee in the education and/or treatment process through regular contact with the treatment provider. Makes the determination if the recommendation should be adjusted or changed.
- The major deciding factor (in some cases, the only decision point) for the employer to choose whether or not to place an employee in integral positions, such as behind the wheel of a school bus, in a plane, at the command of an oil tanker or at the controls of a train or a subway car.
- Reports that the employee has or has not followed the SAP’s recommendations.
- Conducts a follow-up evaluation at the completion of education and/or treatment.
- Provides the Designated Employer Representative with the employee’s follow-up evaluation and a drug and/or alcohol-testing plan for the employee.
It is important to know that the SAP does not provide counseling for the employee. The SAP is the professional who makes the recommendations for the appropriate education and/or treatment, follow-up tests and aftercare only.
Thriveworks Bristol SAPs Have the Following Qualifications
- Clinical expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse-related disorders.
- An understanding of how the SAP role relates to the responsibilities of the employer (ensuring the traveling public is safe at all times).
- Meets all of the SAP standards, qualifications and training requirements.
- Participates in the continuing education of SAPs.
- Demonstrates the knowledge and comprehension of reporting.
- Possesses specific knowledge and credentials.
- Achieved a passing score on the exam to be eligible for the role of SAP.
- Has a comprehension of the U.S. DOT’s expanded and revised drug use and alcohol misuse prevention rules for the commercial transportation industries.
What Must I do to Return to Duty?
A SAP does not make a “fitness for duty” determination as part of the re-evaluation (unless required to do so under an applicable DOT agency regulation). The employer (the DOT) decides whether the employee should be placed back to work in a safety-sensitive position. In short, the SAP is the person who verifies if the employee has successfully complied with his initial recommendation.
What is Drug Addiction?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction is the most severe form of a substance use disorder (SUD). It develops when a person’s continued use of alcohol and/or drugs causes significant issues, such as health problems, disability and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school or home. An SUD can range from mild to severe.
Addiction is a complex, chronic brain disease characterized by drug craving, seeking and use that persists even in the face of devastating life consequences. Addiction results largely from brain changes that stem from prolonged drug use—changes that involve multiple brain circuits, including those responsible for governing self-control and other behaviors. Drug addiction is treatable, often with medications (for some addictions) combined with behavioral therapies. However, relapse is common and can happen even after long periods of abstinence, underscoring the need for long-term support and care. Relapse does not signify treatment failure, but rather, should prompt treatment re-engagement or modification.
Signs of drug use and addiction can vary from person to person and the type of drug used. The following are some of the most common signs*:
- Impaired speech and motor coordination.
- Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are larger or smaller than usual.
- Changes in physical appearance or personal hygiene.
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
- Unusual smells on breath, body or clothing
- Changes in mood or disinterest in relationships or activities.
*National Institute on Drug Abuse
Commonly Abused Drugs
- Prescription stimulants
- MDMA (Escstasy/Molly)
- Mescaline (Peyote)
- Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam)
- Over-the-counter cough/cold medicines (Dextromethorphan)
- Steroids (Anabolic)
- Synthetic Cannabinoids
- Synthetic Cathinones (Bath salts)
- Prescription Opioids
- Prescription Sedatives (Tranquilzers, Depressants)
When Can I Get an Appointment with a Thriveworks Bristol SAP?
At Thriveworks Bristol, we are trained professionals and have appointments available within 24 hours for most new clients. Thriveworks SAPs typically schedule initial evaluations within five business days. Call (423) 573-6836 to get the process started with the SAP today.