As a Consultant Psychiatrist, I am faced with the issue of dealing with Child Care Custody and Contact for people who have problems with Alcohol Use or Dependence. Not being a lawyer, commenting on the court decision making process is not within my expertise or domain but I do understand that adhering to treatment is an important factor for decisions regarding the child’s placement. I am often asked whether the individual in question has demonstrated this adherence to treatment.

Disulfiram (Antabuse) is a well researched medicine that is commonly used to maintain abstinence (remaining alcohol free) from alcohol. Different methods to monitor abstinence exist including Breath Testing for Alcohol, Urine tests, Blood tests and Hair Analysis.

But the good news is, that now with a new technology, measuring the breakdown products of Disulfiram in the breath is possible. So that means that by doing a breath test, it is possible to know whether someone has been taking their medication. This new technology can have huge implications-

– Can empower the person taking medication

– Can help in safely demonstrating concordance to treatment by passing this breath test

– Can help the Courts with their decision making process

– Can help the clinicians with better monitoring

I am sure everyone in the situation of their child care proceedings would agree with me that the joy of having ones child back is beyond any description in words!

I will give more details of this technology in my next post. By that time I would have had the opportunity to analyse this technology more rigorously and perhaps report on other uses of it. One quick benefit that comes to mind as I end this post is it’s use in Occupational and Employment related issues!

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