GVMA BLOG

Where were you born and raised?Although born in upstate New York, I mostly grew up in an Atlanta suburb. My father worked with a large company that moved us around the country from the east coast to west coast and back. Having experienced life in other parts of the country, there is nowhere I would rather call home than Georgia. Why did you choose to become a veterinarian?As a 14-year-old living in Dunwoody, my neighbor, Garrett Thornton, D.V.M., would beep his horn in the mornings. I would run out, jump in...

Close to 841,000 lives have been lost to drug overdoses in the United States since 1999. A large majority of those deaths were caused by opioids despite the fact that medical advancements have made these deaths the most preventable. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that quickly eliminates the presence of opioids within the body. This medication is available as a nasal spray or it can be injected into the arm or the leg. Because Naloxone does not require a prescription and is available at most pharmacies, it is one of the...

By Justin Toth, DVM, GVMA Immediate Past President Dr. Justin Toth During the pandemic, caseloads have increased exponentially for veterinarians throughout the country. Many hospitals are so overwhelmed that they are not accepting new patients. To make things worse, the labor shortage is also affecting many hospitals. During this time of increased demand, emergency clinics are also feeling the strain. Many emergency hospitals are reporting a 5+ hour wait for emergencies that are deemed as not life-threatening. In the past few years, two of the emergency hospitals that service the northwest metropolitan area...

If you need help or know a veterinarian that is battling mental health or substance abuse issues read below about the Georgia PHP What does GA PHP stand for? Georgia Professional Health Program Who is eligible? It is available for all licensed Georgia veterinarians that are in need of rehabilitative service for mental health or substance abuse disorders What is it about? Georgia PHP does not provide treatment but oversees the treatment and recovery pathway for veterinarians that are in need of treatment for addiction/impairmentThe oversight includes referral services that include:Financial counselingFamily and marriage counseling servicesLong-term...

How common is substance use in the workplace? According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 75% of adults with substance use disorder are in the US workforce. With the additional stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent reports showed a 13% increase in substance use in order to cope (Lyra). As we take these figures a step further, we also see this presence of addiction in the veterinary profession. The AVMA’s Wellness Committee estimated that up to 13% of veterinarians have a substance use disorder. How can...

In the struggle of substance addiction, acknowledging the problem is a difficult but necessary step. If you have experienced negative outcomes as consequences of your relationship with substance use, it may be time to perform further self-assessment and seek help. If you, a family member or someone you know is experiencing a substance use disorder resources are available: Georgia Collaborative Administrative Services Organization (ASO) This organization works with Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities’ (DBHDD) network of more than 600 providers, the Georgia Collaborative ASO facilitates the delivery of whole-health,...

If you are struggling with substance abuse, please be encouraged…there is hope and you are not alone.  Over 20 million Americans struggle with a substance use disorder (shatterproof.org).  Substance use disorder is a chronic illness with viable and successful treatments available. Treatment modalities vary from outpatient care to residential and hospital inpatient care.  Not every person requires the same treatment plan and a multimodal approach may be recommended, including withdrawal management, counseling and behavioral therapy, mental health monitoring, and mental health treatment.  Unfortunately, very few people who struggle with a substance...

Are you unsure if you or a loved one are in need help with a substance use disorder? The following links provide assessment tools to help you self-identify.  These assessments only take 5 to 10 minutes to complete, are anonymous, and can be used for personal assessment or for the assessment of a loved one.  While neither of these tools are able to provide a diagnosis, they are available to help you determine if there is a need to seek medical treatment.  These resources additionally can help locate treatment providers...

What is “Substance Use Disorder”? Substance use disorder is defined as the continued use of a substance despite harmful consequence and is the recognized diagnostic term applied to substance use addiction disorders according to the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published in 2013. This terminology represents a shift from the use of terms such as “abuse” and “dependence” and recognizes addiction as a complex chronic condition that may manifest as mild, moderate, or severe.   What causes substance use disorder? Long thought to be the consequence...

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