Correctional nurses Margaret Collatt, C. J. Young, and Mari Knight join Lorry to talk about the latest Correctional Health Care News.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added a Black Box Warning to new Hepatitis C pharmaceuticals as reports mount of flare-ups of Hepatitis B in those patients receiving the drugs. Gilead’s Sovaldi is one such medication. More information is needed but this side effect is likely to complicate Hepatitis C treatment in correctional settings as many patients are co-infected.
Cheeking is the practice of hiding drugs in the mouth for later use rather than swallowing them when administered. It is a concerning practice by some of our correctional patients. Dr. Jeff Keller identifies several ways our patient’s commonly divert drugs such as palming them and pretending to take them, or hiding them in denture adhesive or empty tooth socket. The unusual case he describes in this article is a known drug diverter whose meds were crushed but he was somehow able to keep the powder on his tongue and later turn it into a spit wad. Dr. Keller states in this piece that “a good correctional nurse will usually catch such attempts” (referring to the more common methods). Panelists discuss various cheeking methods and the role of correctional nurses and custody officers in preventing medication diversion.
The New Hampshire prison system is the only state where their Secure Psychiatric Unit (SPU) is not only used for convicted mentally ill patients but also hard-to-handle mental health patients who have not committed a crime. The SPU is a 65-bed unit and five to ten patients at any given time are from the outside. There is growing concern about this practice.
Research in two prisons in Oregon indicate that transcendental meditation can reduce anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances for prisoners. This was an experimental study with a meditation group and a control group of non-meditating inmates. The experimental group had four months of the intervention while the control group participated in all other standard care but did not practice meditation. This non-pharmacologic treatment shows promise for improving prisoner mental health.
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