Meet, share, learn, grow and make change a reality.

At the end of  September, Acutis CEO Jibreel Sarij and Chief Scientist and Laboratory Director, Marjorie Bon Homme, PhD, DABCC along with members of our sales team, participated in the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State (ASAP) Annual Conference in Niagara Falls, New York. 

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Acutis attended this year’s conference as a 2019 Platinum Sponsor. We made this commitment because the event’s theme, Innovative Integration: Efficiency, Efficacy and Outcomes, speaks directly to the work we do, and how we do it.

We also wanted to make our own original contribution and toward that end, our Dr. Bon Homme gave a well-attended breakout session, Flying under the radar: What are you missing? In her talk she shared her groundbreaking work, designed to help physicians and other health professionals identify a new generation of illicit substances.

These are difficult times as much for the healthcare professions as our communities, and as a Platinum Sponsor, we acknowledged the important work of ASAP, and that of its members, partners, and all those who attended this conference.

For our part, Acutis Sales Representatives were fully engaged. Amanda Leamer worked to expand the company’s network of substance-use facilities and providers. Emily Talarico participated in the generous give and take, finding participants eager to share their knowledge and acquire new insights. Jared Blais put Acutis in front of key influencers in the field.

Acutis CEO Jibreel Sarij made clear not only the importance of the conference, but how Acutis will take the lessons learned and knowledge acquired forward. “We learned firsthand what is most troubling to professionals who treat mental health and addiction. We also gained a better understanding of issues ranging from successes with medication-assisted treatment, to the importance of treating the co-occurring conditions related to mental health and addiction.”

By any metric, the 2019 conference was a success and Acutis is proud to have been a part of it.

Flying under the radar: What are you missing?

Dr. Marjorie Bon Homme, PhD, DABCC, Chief Scientist and Laboratory Director at Acutis will deliver a short but critical talk: “Flying under the radar: What are you missing?” This presentation will be given on Monday, September 23rd from 2:00pm to 3:30pm in The Whitney Room, during the 20th Annual ASAP NYS Conference.

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Dr. Bon Homme will discuss the sudden appearance of new formulations of synthetic drugs. The presence of these novel and dangerous substances are frustrating healthcare professionals, particularly as many of the substances cannot be detected by traditional tests, and so many users are not being helped. What’s more, the profession is also dealing with familiar drugs, which in the past weren’t abused, but are now ingredients in increasingly toxic “drug cocktails.”

To further complicate matters, users are experimenting with different ways to administer drugs. It is a challenging situation that Dr. Bon Homme and her team at Acutis are addressing with advanced science and technology. The results to date provide real reason for optimism.

Dr. Bon Homme’s talk will provide practitioners with a timely, in-depth acquaintance with this distressing phenomenon — information on the new illicit drugs that are flying under the radar and into our communities. This information will offer healthcare providers better data, which will suggest appropriate treatment options for those abusing new drugs and substances.

If this new phase of the current crisis is news to you, you’ll want to attend Dr. Bon Homme’s talk.

Learn more about the talk

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy, sun is shining, and children are getting high

A new study reported by CNN Health has brought to light that summer is the season when young people begin to experiment with cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, marijuana, and other drugs. Fun in the sun increasingly includes both new and increased drug use. Researchers also have found that young men and women are more likely to try so-called party drugs during the summer. In fact, over a third of LSD, approximately 30% of ecstasy and marijuana, and also 28% of cocaine use comes with and continues throughout the summer holiday.

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This is something all parents, educators and healthcare workers should keep in mind. The reasons vary, as Dr. Joseph Palamar, the study’s lead author and associate professor of population health at NYU School of Medicine points out. “[Young] People aren’t working like crazy” and maybe because the weather is warmer [they] might be hanging out with more people. Palamar adds that “These days the festival scene is huge; and that [excitement] combined with high temperatures could make first-time drug use particularly risky.”

The risk: The study shows that using a drug for the first time presents a particular danger, especially if the use is unplanned, or if the person is taking a drug that he or she is unfamiliar with. The study also found some party drugs require preparation before use, for example, a drug like ecstasy requires adequate rest and hydration to avoid a visit to the emergency room. Heat stroke and death are a real possibility as temperatures rise and people are partying hard.

As we approach the end of summer, it’s important to take into account this study’s findings and see that our children are made aware of the risks they take before they:
“ … rise up singing
And spread their wings and take to the sky.”*

*Words adapted from Summertime, Songwriters: Du Bose Heyward / George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin

Source: CNN Health

Acutis brings solutions to 2019 New York State Pain Society Annual Meeting.

This year’s theme: Emerging from the Opioid Crisis: Advances in Multimodal Care was of particular importance to our company, especially in light of the work we do to aid and abet physicians and others working in pain management and addiction specialties.

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To make the most of the event, the company was represented by Acutis CEO Jibreel Sarij, VP of Sales Anthony Nolfo, as well as sales representatives: Jared Blais, Madeline Galvano, Amanda Leamer, Kseniya Shyrokava, Sam Orgel.

For participants, the Sessions’ programs reflected issues these professionals face daily, from: the evolving understanding of the opioid crisis and trends in interventional pain management, to advances in regenerative medicine and even the legal implication of pain management.

Jibreel Sarij, Acutis CEO thought the event was especially useful as it gave the company the opportunity to receive feedback directly from users of our latest technology platform. “Our platform not only provides clinical clients with a vastly simplified way to order testing and receive results, but one that also employs business intelligence tools that help report medication compliance and abuse trends.

Our sales reps also reported back that the conference allowed them to become better acquainted with doctors and other providers. Madeline Galvano, saw that Acutis is in exactly the position to “help doctors keep up with trends of treatments and issues of importance, as they rarely had the time to follow the news closely.”

Amanda Leamer, like Ms. Galvano, remarked on “the privilege to speak with providers especially those unaware of the capabilities of our specialty labs.” She found in every conversation a connection to build on.

What Samuel Orgel found most valuable and enjoyable was meeting with clients outside their offices because: “I had the time to actually explain how we could help them treat their patient more effectively and by extension, help their practices run more efficiently.

Jared Blais: considered it “an honor being able to represent Acutis and also to attend various sessions. I was also able to meet with medical professional that I have not had the access to in the past.” An added benefit, he also made professional relationships with other vendors.

Kseniya Shyrokava found most valuable the feedback she received from the pain management physicians with whom we already work. She also appreciated the chance to cultivate potential leads. She was especially delighted to see the attention Acutis received from physicians from both U.S. and abroad.

By any metric, we believe our presence at New York State Pain Society 2019 proved a success. Our staff engaged with our clients and potential clients and left with valuable insights. Perhaps most important was our team’s effort to enhance awareness of the Acutis brand, demonstrating leadership in this area of clinical toxicology.

Perhaps of greatest value we be the information that we bring home to our lab and support staff. We’ll use the insights we acquired to improve our communications internally, as well as with our clients, to raise our level of customer service. And, ultimately, we’ll use them to hone our own practices, products, and services.

Yesterday’s news has become today’s news, and likely will be tomorrow’s news, too.

Synthetic cannabinoids are not new, and yet, they continually find their way back into the news. They return in the form of dangerous new variations, with more menacing and ironic names; while promising greater potency, and, so, more thrills. But these familiar and still illicit substances can be 85-times more powerful than marijuana. This “industrial strength” poison threatens users with both new symptoms and possibly significant harm. 

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Synthetic cannabinoids first made national news on July 12, 2016, when the New York City Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were summoned to a block party in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. On the street, groups of partiers exhibited altered states of consciousness that would later be described as “zombie-like.” The zombie name struck a chord and stuck. The actual name of the substance, AMB-FUBINACA, was not nearly as well known. 

Two years earlier in Louisiana, a similar outbreak was attributed to an AMB-FUBINACA analog with the “trademarked” name “Train Wreck 2.” We don’t want to be seen as not taking this problem seriously. We do, so much in fact, that we’ve committed substantial resources to bring our panels to the fore of the industry. But we also think it would be a mistake for the medical industry and substance abuse specialists not to recognize the ingenuity and creativity of those who manufacture and distribute these substances. Ignoring this reality could prove detrimental to our finding new ways to detect new drugs through clinical testing. This is particularly true as the makers of these drugs are constantly innovating and creating new products, often with only slightly varied recipes.

In response to this shape-shifting phenomenon,
Acutis has launched its updated Spice Menu,
with new assays to reflect these barreling trends. 

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These include 20 new analytes, including our AMB-FUBINACA and 5F-ADB tests for the substances which represent over 61% of reported synthetic cannabinoids used in the U.S. These steps are of critical importance, particularly as young people are increasingly vaping drugs like K2, 24K Gold, and AK-47. The vaping trend is growing even as smoking in the traditional sense has fallen out of fashion.

As the article, “‘Zombie’ Outbreak Caused by the Synthetic Cannabinoid AMB-FUBINACA in New York” in the December 2016 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine by Axel J. Adams, B.S, Samuel D. Banister, PhD., Lisandro Irizarry, M.D. et al, made clear: Commonly abused drugs are undergoing a period of proliferation and diversification … [while] new psychoactive substances are providing users with alternatives to older and better-characterized drugs, such as amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, and cannabis.” The article reports that more than “540 new psychoactive substances have been reported to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.” 

And, of these, synthetic cannabinoids are the fastest growing class. Since 2008, there has been a significant uptick in the use of synthetic cannabinoids. First called “K2” in America and “Spice” in Europe, these designer drugs have a completely different chemical structure from plant-based THC, and so there’s nothing natural or predictable about the high.

We can expect to see an increase in the use of these drugs because of their low cost and the potential for dilution into large volumes of product. In light of these facts, Acutis will work with the medical community to develop ever and ever more sensitive tests to help identify even the faintest presence of the metabolites indicating AMB-FUBINACA and other, newer synthetics. 

We will also continue to research and expand our tests because as the article from The New England Journal of Medicine observed: The analysis of new psychoactive substances requires more than the typically targeted drug panels, [which is to say] success will rely on more sophisticated analytic platforms. [Platforms] that have the ability to rapidly identify previously unreported compounds.” 

We will judge our progress not only by developing the science and technology to detect very low concentrations of a drug or its metabolites, but also to predict and rapidly generate reference standards for previously unknown psychoactive substances. 

To learn more about Acutis’ work in this area, contact service@acutisdiagnostics.com

Stop by the Acutis Booth this Weekend at the New York State Pain Society’s Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions

The media coverage of the ‘opiate epidemic’ as driven by pill pushing-doctors and by pain patients worries me a lot, and I think it is already being used to forward the idea that people in chronic pain should not have access to relief from their pain.” Dr. Anita Gupta

For the third time in as many years, Acutis will be in attendance at the New York State Pain Society 2019 Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions. This year’s theme: Emerging from the Opioid Crisis: Advances in Multimodal Care reflects the cautious optimism that reflect the many programs and sessions that will be held from Friday, May 17th through Sunday May 19th , at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel.

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In light of both the importance of this event, as well as our commitment to pain-management professionals and practices, the company with be represented by Acutis CEO Jibreel Sarij, VP of Sales Anthony Nolfo, as well as sales representatives: Jared Blais, Madeline Galvano, Amanda Leamer, Kseniya Shyrokava, Sam Orgel. For more information about Acutis visit the company at Table #44.

This year’s events are organized around Seven Sessions:

1.     Advances in our Understanding of the Opioid Crisis —Just the Facts

2.     Advances in Pharmacological Care

3.     Advances in Interventional Pain Management

4.     Advances in Regenerative Medicine

5.     The Great Debates—Advances of Not?

6.     Advances in Complimentary Therapies

7.     The Legal Side off Pain—What’s happening to the Practice, the Patients and You

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear thought leaders and specialists speak on a variety of critical subjects, as was well as participate in discussions as varied as “Components of Successful Multidisciplinary Practice and the “Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetic Factors Support” as well as “The Pseudoscience of Morphine Equivalent,”  “Advances in Migraine Therapy“ and “De-Stigmatizing the Pain Patient.”

Events will also include panel discussions as well as ample opportunities to network in an open and collegial setting.

Click for more information about this year’s 2019 Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions | May 17th-19th, 2019

Acutis has its eye on the future of STEM on Long Island.

Stony Brook University’s School of Health Technology and Management’s Sigma Beta chapter recently held an event to commemorate current and graduating members of its Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program. A highlight of the event was the induction of students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher into the Lambda Tau National Honor Society.

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Following the ceremony, Daniela Zaborskis, Acutis’ Director of Operations, provided an overview of the nation’s opioid crisis and the role laboratory medicine plays in helping to ameliorate it. David Goldberg, Acutis’ Managing Director, spoke on the future of laboratory medicine and the critical roles the knowledge and skills of Clinical Laboratory Technicians (CLTs) will play in the profession’s evolution.

Acutis’ attendance at the event is a sign of its commitment to both STEM on Long Island and also to Stony Brook’s School of Health Technology and Management. Dr. Zaborskis and Mr. Goldberg’s visit was intended to show students and graduates how their studies align with the real-life work of the profession.

Acutis’ presence served also as informal recruitment effort, where the company offered internships. In addition to Dr. Zaborskis and David Goldberg, other members of Acutis in attendance included: Marjorie Bon Homme (Chief Scientist & Clinical Laboratory Director) and Javon Barnwell (Manager of Human Resources).

Goldberg remarked afterwards: “The meeting was a very uplifting experience. I met with the future stewards of laboratory medicine, young scientists who having finished a rigorous program were now well prepared to enter the profession with equal parts education and enthusiasm.”

For more information of Clinical Laboratory Services program, click here.

Acutis is a company in motion.

Pri-Med Washington, DC, offered clinicians two intense days of practical information and workable insights designed to hone skills and enhance expertise. It was a conference that spoke to us and we wanted to hear more.

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As a company in motion, Acutis is building on its clinical toxicology expertise to grow into an important medical specialty laboratory. Today, Acutis, a New York–accredited lab, provides state-of-the-art diagnostic services to physicians and clinics throughout New York, as well as deep into the Tri-state area
— New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and into New England.

As our competencies increase, so are the places where we see the opportunity to grow. Last week, at the Pri-Med Conference in Washington, DC, Acutis was represented by Stephanie Moorefield, Tiffany DiPietro, and Nicole Summers. Each found a receptive, even enthusiastic audience for the new level of service Acutis offers.

Stephanie was impressed by the size of the show, as well as the optimistic collegial atmosphere. She found the opportunity to introduce Acutis to many in attendance, healthcare providers open to new resources. Tiffany met with doctors and other providers. She engaged in serious discussions with a number of physicians who, while genuinely interested in trends and treatments, often didn’t have the time to learn on their own. Nicole discovered Pri-Med attendees who were anxious to learn what Acutis had to offer. She was most excited by physicians who, after visiting our booth, invited us to come to their offices to hear how Acutis could add value to their practices.

All agreed that the meeting provided invaluable insights into the state of the industry. And each saw there was a real need for a company that could articulate its vision and purpose.

After our successful meeting in DC, we look forward to the next Pri-Med show, and also to taking the Acutis message farther and farther afield.

Not an overview; two days of intensive education.

Pri-Med Washington, DC offers clinicians two full days of practical information and workable insights conceived to hone skills and enhance expertise. All the event’s activities share the same intent—improve patients’ quality of life.*

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Pri-Med educational sessions, led by renown faculty—men and women who are highly credentialed leaders in their fields—will “unpack” the most up-to-date subjects, clinical guidelines, and recommendations. And do so in such a way that these tools can be implemented immediately. (For a list of speakers, visit: https://bit.ly/2UzcgN1)

Topics addressed on April 17th include: Cardiology, Geriatrics, Endocrinology, Psychiatry, Critical Issues of the Day, and Pain Management.
Topics covered on April 18th include: Wellness, Psychiatry, Infectious Disease, Hot Topics, Dermatology, and Cardiology. (See full agenda here: https://bit.ly/2UQLHlO)

Acutis Diagnostics will be in attendance on both April 17th & 18th.  The importance of this event was made clear by a number of our clients in pain management and infectious diseases. On the basis of their recommendations, our representatives, Tiffany DiPietro, Nicole Summers, and Stephanie Moorefield, will be on hand to meet with attendees and introduce them to our company.

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Tiffany DiPietro, Nicole Summers, and Stephanie Moorefield

By attending events such as Pri-Med, Acutis Diagnostics, already recognized as one of New York State’s most respected specialty laboratories, will have the opportunity to share with the industry our growing areas of competence.

* Professional Credits
In addition, you will have the opportunity to earn up to 13 CME/CE Credits
(April 17:  7 Credits and April 18: 6 Credits).

Putting the focus back on treatment.

At some point or another, a scandal touches every industry; medicine is no exception. But seldom has one name scorched so many great cultural institutions as that of the Sackler family. The affected museums, universities, and foundations that were beneficiaries of the Sackler family’s largesse include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate Gallery, The Smithsonian, the Guggenheim, Yale, The New York Academy of Sciences, and other renowned institutions.

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The crisis of conscience experienced by these institutions and also the righteous anger of the attorney generals across the nation who are suing both members of the family, as well as the family-owned company, Purdue Pharma, was caused by the misuse of OxyContin, the company’s best-selling product. The irony is that this medicine, hailed as a wonder drug, offered doctors a way to alleviate severe pain suffered by countless patients including those with cancer and terminal illnesses.

Both Purdue and members of the family have been accused of aggressive, reckless, and even criminal marketing of the drug; including encouraging their sales force to ignore the practice of unethical doctors who ran infamous pill mills. As a result, this former “miracle drug” has become a symbol of the most despicable kind of corporate greed. Although some might argue that Purdue and the Sacklers have become scapegoats for a society that has failed to treat a decades-long catastrophe in a responsible, let alone effective way.

The discussion entered the mainstream with an article in The New Yorker magazine, “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain,” by Patrick Radden Keefe. Since its publication in October 30, 2017, the story of OxyContin and its role in our nation’s very real “opioid crisis” has only grown more intense. 

As a company working at the leading edge of clinical toxicology, Acutis has developed innovative technologies and science and advanced methodologies that enable our medical and drug treatment clients to quickly identify the misuse of OxyContin, as well as other prescription and illicit drugs, including natural and semisynthetic opioids, synthetic opioids, methadone, fentanyl, tramadol, and heroin.

Throughout our collaborations with doctors and our peers in the industry, our conversations have moved outside the lab and into the culture at large. These conversations have made us extremely aware of all that’s at risk by ignoring the real problem.

First, there is the complexity of managing pain, an imperfect art that physicians and others who help suffering people must practice. Second, these professionals do their work fully aware of the frailty of these human beings and their susceptibility to addiction.

The New Yorker’s investigation brought to the surface countless intersecting dynamics that help us understand a cause of crisis—from Purdue’s aggressive marketing practices and the greed of a small number of doctors, to the desperate financial situations of patients who found themselves in possession of a valuable commodity. We also learned a great deal of the role these drugs play in the lives of men and women living in depressed, largely rural and impoverished places.

The story of the Tate Gallery’s and other’s repudiation of new funding by the Sackler trusts, as well as the noisy, even vengeful protests, led by the artist Nan Goldin make for a good story. That said, Acutis has never chased headlines. In fact, we are saddened by the growing number of lawsuits, both those brought by Attorney Generals and also litigators on behalf of their clients. Some settlements have already been made and others will be litigated with the expectation of reclaiming some of the costs related to the 1,000s of deaths attributed to OxyContin.

But we think the emphasis on the Sackler Family and OxyContin, which is still, when used as prescribed, a great help to people suffering from terrible pain, is misguided.

As a company intimately familiar with the workings and expectations of physicians and substance-abuse practitioners and facilities, Acutis refuses to be distracted by sensational news. Nor will we point our finger at a convenient villain.

Few things are as seductive as watching the mighty fall, or the opportunity to turn up our noses at “filthy lucre,” or witness the humbling of the glamorous art world. That said, we will leave the schadenfreude and moralizing to politicians, activists, and cultural critics.

Our task as a clinical toxicology lab is to continually refine our science and technology to provide our clients with the best tools to address the real threats to our individual and collective well-being. We will judge ourselves solely by the following criteria: The precision of our results, delivered in the most timely manner, which together enables our clients in the healthcare community to provide the most appropriate treatment. This is our work and no news, no matter how sensational, will distract us from it