Solutions for Court and Community-Based Testing During COVID-19
In recent months Tomo, like many businesses, has had to adapt our collection and testing practices to comply with efforts to flatten the Coronavirus curve. The virus has changed the way we live and work. This has not omitted court and community-based testing programs.
Courts know how critical daily check-ins, random drug testing, and accountability are for donors battling substance use disorders to successfully overcome addiction.
Many of the consequences of COVID-19 involve more than the virus; they extend to financial instability, stress due to job loss or extended hours, and reduced interaction with friends and family. These psychological stressors can become triggers for those who are already vulnerable and battling substance misuse disorders.
With as many as 75,000 Americans at risk of overdose and suicide due to COVID-19, the need for an effective solution to combat this prediction is critical. (source)
Indicators for drug or alcohol abuse relapse:
- Poor eating or sleeping habits
- Declining hygiene
- Talking to past friends who still use
- Constant lying
- Bottling up emotion
- Skipping or avoiding virtual support meetings
These challenges brought on by COVID-19 are especially prevalent to those battling a substance misuse disorder. Triggers lead to relapse and are real, so the question is how can Tomo spearhead these challenges and be part of the solution?
Below are three ways Tomo assists in the solution of continued testing during COVID-19.
- Engagement. Addictions are complicated. Often, from drug or alcohol addictions come mental health issues, child abuse, and divorce. Drug courts take a holistic approach to help participants turn their lives around by teaching them how to overcome common burdens related to addictions. Statistically, these programs work better than jail or prison and better than probation/treatment alone. Thankfully, while many have been restricted from face-to-face communication, we have been able to continue call-in participation systems uninterrupted.
- Continued testing. An important aspect of drug courts is random and frequent drug testing. Effective solutions to substance misuse start well before actual drug testing. Most participants check-in around the same time every day with their probation officer or case manager who can easily assess when higher risk of a relapse is near. Typically, a drug court participant must provide eight or more urinalysis tests per month. Participants don’t know when to expect the tests, so they are not able to prepare beforehand. Each participant must call a toll-free number every day to see whether or not they have to give a sample. Courts need to know if participants are relapsing or not so appropriate and proactive measures can be taken. COVID-19 has posed challenges to drug testing but it has not stopped. Tomo has continued to prioritized the safety of our staff, clients, and donors. We have taken practical steps such as implementing social distancing (donor only facilities), wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE), thorough sanitation procedures, and limiting the number of donors in the testing facility to 10 or less. Our clinics are considered essential and have remained open, so although we are limiting our capacity, our technicians are continuing to provide this necessary service. These preventative measures have ensured that testing remains uninterrupted for donors to continue to overcome their addictions even with the triggers of COVID-19. To read more about Tomo’s COVID-19 updates here.
- Recovery-focused approach. The drug tests alone are a tangible measure of a participant’s success in a program, but consistent, negative tests are only achievable with full participation. How should we define the success of others? Drug testing is fairly straightforward, but at its core, is a measure of whether a program as a whole is working. Tomo believes our approach is recovery-focused in order to all participants to be successful. That is why we not only provide tailored solutions for effective drug testing, but predictive behaviors so probation officers and case managers can help participants achieve their success.
These three steps can help you navigate this challenging time. Tomo has a unique opportunity to highlight how what we do plays a key role in making a difference for those we serve during this global pandemic.
Tomo Drug Testing partners with treatment courts to create accurate, efficient, and cost-effective testing solutions customized for the unique needs of any judicial agency. We have experience working with Drug, DWI, Veterans, Mental Health, Family, Children’s Services, and similar adult and juvenile courts. For more information, give us a call today at 888-379-7697 or contact us online. We would be happy to help!