Paramus, NJ: Dr. Jeffrey Liva attended the HIMS conference in Denver, CO September 8-10-2014. This conference brought together professionals that specialize in aviation occupational medicine as part of a program to inform and promote aviation safety with regards to substance abuse and treatment. The FAA views substance abuse among aviation professionals as a serious matter. The FAA hopes to treat those afflicted by alcoholism and chemical dependencies in order to return pilots to work and continue to make air transportation as safe as possible.
Dr. Liva was impressed with the program and honored to partake in it. According to Dr. Liva, “It is amazing that HIMS has a success rate over 80%. This number is staggering and demonstrates that our aviation professionals receive the best treatment in order to get them back into the cockpit and make our skies safer. If the HIMS’s principles were applied to the population at large it could provide a huge impact on the lives and families of affected individuals.”
This programs depends on the interdependent relationship between the FAA, pilots, the airline pilots union and the airlines. Peer pilots and qualified managers intervene into the afflicted’ s life and urges that person to seek evaluation from a substance abuse professional. At that point, the substance abuse professional will decide if treatment is necessary. After successfully completing treatment, the pilot may be eligible for FAA medical re-certification. Once the pilot has completed treatment, he or she must meet with a HIMS FAA Aviation Medical Examiner. This is where Dr. Liva comes into the picture. Dr. Liva will oversee the pilot’s treatment and will make a recommendation to the FAA for re-certification if the pilot is compliant. Since there is a high probability of relapse, this oversight will last for years with the intention that the pilots abstains from substance abuse in the future.