Antigen Tests for Safe Addiction Treatment Amid the Pandemic
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for antigen tests that can identify SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The presence of specific proteins in the virus can indicate someone has an active infection, and these tests can detect them.
Most currently authorized antigen tests use a minimally invasive nasal swab to collect a sample, returning results in less than 15 minutes. The new COVID-19 CareStart antigen test shows promise as a widespread screening tool. Given this advanced test’s speed and efficacy, it’s the best available screening tool we have today for diagnosing the presence of the virus. That’s why Beach House has started relying on it as a prerequisite to admission to our Florida addiction treatment facility. Under our medical director’s supervision, we consistently conduct a thorough health risk prescreen of each new client before approving them to start working on their recovery.
Preventing Asymptomatic Spread Through Antigen Tests
One of the most alarming facts about COVID-19 is that as many as 50% of people who test positive for the virus never exhibit any of its characteristic symptoms, such as:
- Loss of taste and smell
- A high fever or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
- Nausea and vomiting
Since these asymptomatic people don’t feel sick, they might go about their everyday lives instead of self-quarantining, thus unwittingly spreading illness to others. For people who live in community settings like addiction treatment centers, preventing asymptomatic viral spread is essential.
COVID-19 antigen tests can provide a rapid diagnosis of active infection by detecting proteins on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is why we’ve added antigen screening to the arsenal of aggressive measures we have implemented to ensure our campus remains free from COVID-19.
Twin Epidemics: Addiction and COVID-19
Decades before the novel coronavirus emerged as a public health threat, the addiction epidemic was sweeping our nation. On average, 130 people in the U.S. lose their lives to opioid overdoses every day. The need for accredited drug and alcohol treatment hasn’t ended amid COVID-19. Indeed, it’s only increased as the pandemic rages on with no signs of stopping.
Mental health experts have sounded the alarm about the long-term psychological effects of living through such uniquely stressful times. Chronic anxiety, depression and trauma can all add up over time. Many people are grieving lost loved ones and craving a return to normalcy. The isolation associated with unemployment, plus the need to follow CDC recommendations for social distancing and sheltering in place, has caused more people to turn to drugs and alcohol to fill the void and alleviate boredom. However, in some cases, it doesn’t take long for casual substance use to progress into a full-fledged addiction.
Steps We Have Taken to Keep Our Residents and Staff Healthy
Because substance use disorders continue to be such a severe societal strain, accredited addiction centers like Beach House fall under the category of essential providers, and we have committed to remaining open throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
For nearly a full year, we’ve been implementing extensive protocols to ensure our facility is one of the nation’s cleanest and safest places to seek treatment for a substance use disorder. We provide masks and hand sanitizer to all our employees and residents, conduct regular temperature checks and keep our finger on the pulse of emerging guidelines from the CDC and WHO. We also employ a housekeeping staff of 17 people who thoroughly sanitize all high-touch surfaces like light switches and door handles every half-hour.
If you’re struggling with a substance use disorder and its various effects on your physical and mental well-being, seeking help as soon as possible can help you identify your addiction’s root causes and learn to manage your disease over the long term. Living amid a rapidly spreading pandemic can be frightening, but don’t let your worries about catching or spreading the novel coronavirus hold you back from pursuing your treatment goals. When you’re ready to learn more, contact our admissions team today.