Substance Abuse Professionals – Thriveworks in Lynchburg

If you are in need of a SAP evaluation in Lynchburg, Virginia, contact:

Thriveworks Counseling
1000 Jefferson St., Suite 1B
Lynchburg, Va. 24504
Tel: (434) 528-3263

Thriveworks in Lynchburg, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines, are the professionals who evaluate employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and make recommendations concerning the education, treatment, follow-up testing and aftercare of the individual. The SAP monitors the process.

If you have failed a random drug test or one that followed an accident that occurred on the job, and your position falls under the guidelines of the U.S. DOT, it is necessary for you to see a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). The SAPs at Thriveworks in Lynchburg are certified, trained and have the knowledge to be in the role of SAP. In accordance with the guidelines of the DOT, SAPs are the professionals who:

  • Make a face-to-face clinical assessment and evaluation to determine what assistance is needed by the employee to resolve problems associated with alcohol and/or drug use.
  • Refer the employee to an appropriate education and/or treatment program.
  • Conduct a face-to-face, follow-up evaluation to determine if the employee has actively participated in the education and/or treatment program and has demonstrated successful compliance with the initial assessment and evaluation recommendations.
  • Provide the Designated Employer Representative with a follow-up drug and/or alcohol testing plan for the employee.
  • Provide the employee and employer with recommendations for continuing education and/or treatment.

A SAP represents the major decision point (and, in some cases, the only decision point) an employer may have in choosing whether or not to place an employee behind the steering wheel of a school bus, in the cockpit of a plane, at the helm of an oil tanker, at the throttle of a train, in the engineer compartment of a subway car or at the emergency control valves of a natural gas pipeline, according to the U.S. DOT.

What SAPs Do Not Do

  • It is important to note that a SAP is not an advocate for the employer or the employee. The function of a SAP is to protect the public interest in safety by professionally evaluating the employee and recommending the appropriate education/treatment, follow-up tests and aftercare.
  • The SAP does not provide counseling for the employee.
  • SAPs do 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.

Thriveworks SAPs

At Thriveworks in Lynchburg, the SAPs are professionally licensed and knowledgeable of the DOT guidelines. They have the following:

  • Clinical experience in the diagnosis of substance abuse-related disorders.
  • An understanding of how the SAP role relates to the responsibilities employers have for ensuring the safety of the traveling public.
  • Meet all SAP standards and training requirements.
  • Qualifications and credentials to fill the role of SAP.
  • Regularly attend continuing education activities.
  • Demonstrate the knowledge and understanding of reporting that the employee has–or has not–complied with the SAP’s recommendation.
  • A passing score on the examination for the role of SAP.
  • An understanding of the U.S. DOT’s expanded and revised drug use and alcohol misuse prevention rules for the commercial transportation industries.
  • The background and reasoning of the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing program.
  • Knowledge of the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing rules.
  • Knowledge of the DOT’s drug testing requirements, such as laboratory testing and collections.
  • Understanding the role of the SAP in the initial employee evaluation, referrals for education and/or treatment, the follow-up evaluation, continuing treatment recommendation and the follow-up testing plan.
  • Knowledge of reporting and record-keeping requirements.

Who is qualified to be a SAP?

Credentials are mandatory for SAPs. In order to fill this vital role, individuals must possess one of the following credentials.

  • Licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy).
  • Licensed or certified social worker.
  • Licensed or certified psychologist.
  • Licensed or certified employee assistance professional.
  • State-licensed marriage and family therapist.
  • A drug and alcohol counselor certified by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Certification Commission; or by the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse; or by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. and Affiliates/Master Addictions Counselor.

The Brain and Drugs

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most drugs affect the brain’s “reward circuit” by flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. The overstimulation of the reward circuit causes the intensely pleasurable “high” that can lead people to take drugs repeatedly.

As a person continues to use drugs, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine by making less of it and/or reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it. This reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when they first started taking the drug. This is known as tolerance. The person may take more of the drug and try to get the same dopamine high. It can also cause them to get less pleasure from the things they used to enjoy, such as social activities.

Long-term use of drugs also causes changes in other brain chemicals and circuits, which affect:

  • Learning
  • Judgment
  • Decision-making
  • Stress
  • Memory
  • Behavior

Even though people are aware of these harmful outcomes, many individuals continue to use drugs—which is the nature of addiction.
No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influences risk of addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.

How Soon Can I Get an Appointment With the SAP?

Thriveworks SAPs typically schedule initial evaluations within five business days. In addition, the SAP’s recommendation about appropriate education and/or treatment program is dependent on your specific needs, which includes the presence of and, if identified, severity of your drug or alcohol problem. The SAP will identify the level of drug and/or alcohol use in order to make the recommendation about education and/or treatment.

Thriveworks Counseling

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Thriveworks Counseling

Schedule your first appointment with a Thriveworks Counselor or Life Coach!

  • 1000 Jefferson St Suite 1B,
    Lynchburg, VA 24504

  • Mon-Fri:7AM-9:30PM

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