Medication Assisted Treatment in the Workforce

We’ve asked Marvin Chaffen director of new
medication assisted treatment programs for the Lakeview Center to be with us today to
talk about those kind of programs and how it affects GCE. Our leaders work
with people with all kinds of disabilities and substance abuse is one of those
types of disabilities and they recently had some questions about it so we’ve asked
Marvin here today to talk a little bit about that … Marvin can you give us just an
overview of what those programs are… Medication assisted treatment is… a evidence-based method for helping people deal specifically in most oftenly with opiate
use disorders people who have problems with pain medication such as Lortab, OxyCotin RoxyCotin and sometimes even Morphine. And, that’s it is a method whereby … people can we get some stability
back in their lives again and begin to function and kind of begin to participate in the workforce and in regular
everyday lives rather than being involved in their addiction as their primary daily activity. Now…this program is in some cases I’ve heard just trading one
drug for another… is that really the case? It is not because when … when a
person is out in the life and in the very addicted
part of their life actively using they’re using whatever is available to
them and so there’s no stability in their lives what so ever. in their lives predominantly revolve
around where do they get their medication again that’s going to make them feel good. Medication assisted treatment programs
provide a daily stable dose of medication along with the significant amount of
monitoring counseling and medical care to ensure that a person returns to a
more stable level of functioning, they’re able to work, they’re able to participate
in all the activities that normal people do everyday like taking care of their children, paying their bills and things like that
so it’s a much… while it is a drug that we’re giving
people it’s a stabilizing influence … in their lives and it helps
people achieve some normalcy that sometimes
they have struggled with for years. Our role with these folks is we’re their employers… so as their employer what advice can you give our leaders on
how to best accomodate people help make them successful? The biggest thing that any employer
can do, Russ, is be supportive of the employee as they participate in this level treatment. There is a stigma that comes with
some levels of medication assisted treatment specifically… when people take Methadone… for
example… employers need to understand that this
is a good treatment that allows them to get a good stable employee in their workforce for them it’s not a bad thing that somebody is on Methadone. There are times and places where
people … don’t do well on some medications
but there are times and places where … some of our clients are engaged in
total abstinence programs don’t do well either so there is very little difference between the
two. As the manager i think there’s really two issues that
people primarily are concerned with… one is somebody has now shared with me
about their treatment and they shared it with me and they didn’t share it with the
whole team … there’s some confidentiality issues around this
can you tell us the best way to handle that? Well one… even though the employee has shared with
you… that is where that information has to stop because it is protected
health information so even sharing it with the employees co-workers or the employee
or sharing it with his supervisor is not appropriate if there are problems related to whatever
has here going on with them those have to be addressed behaviorally not well we don’t think you’re addiction
program is working for you we don’t think your medications work for you we have to say you’re not doing what you’re supposed to
do your not showing up to work on time when you show up to work you don’t seem
like you’re okay… so… you have to address any problems that
are related to this level of treatment behaviorally not through the eyes of well this
person has an addiction or that they take medication. That’s a great tip. As with any kind of program some people or more successful
less successful and sometimes people slide back. What kind of behavior
should their leaders look for that might indicate we need to direct them
back to treatment or direct them to some different treatment or directing them to
human resources. Well, the things that we would look for the things you
would look for really in any employee are they showing up to it on time,
are they punctual and they do their work has their work suffered, become sloppy, has their behavior erratic are they moody or belligerent seem in some ways altered where they
don’t seem like they’re quite in touch with what’s going on around them same
as you would for any employee you just watch for the behavioral clues
that tell you that your not getting as an employer what
you’re paying for from the employee… that you’re always looking for those
things to tell you that something’s going on and that something may very well be drugs or it may be alcohol or it could be family problems so sometimes we can’t even really know exactly what’s going on we just know that something is
wrong and so yes we’re for people back to treatment
we refer people to … human resource we refer people to EAP programs where they are available all in an effort to ensure that we are providing the right kind of service to keep the person
employed. Now… we’re talking to initially about people
who have shared with us that they are in in a treatment program… if we had somebody who we thought could benefit from the program, who’s not in it, how would we refer somebody to the program? In the local area here in northwest Florida
Lakeview Center operates three separate clinics that offer medication assisted treatment you can contact any of those clinics in
Century, Pensacola or Shalimar, Florida … the employee can and they could possibly qualify to me in treatment there … other parts of the country
almost in all fifty states there are medication assistant treatment
programs and so other employers are in other parts of the country
where Lakeview doesn’t provide the services there’s almost always some provider who can help along the way. Marvin thanks for your time today we certainly appreciate you helping us help people that are in medication assisted treatment programs become more successful. Thank you. I appreciate it… these are people that are well worth employing and they’re good
people that we really need to find ways to help them out I thank you for having me here today.