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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:50 pm 
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A close friend of mine that I've known since we were teenagers was looking forward to her daughter's wedding coming up. Her daughter was so happy to finally have found her lifelong partner. The arrangements were made and the ceremony was on everyone's calendar. Then I noticed frantic calls for prayer and positive thoughts on Facebook. Her fiance was in the hospital and clinging to life. What could have happened when everything was going so perfectly?

A heroin overdose, that's what. I just found out that he was pronounced brain dead and the family reluctantly let him slide into eternity. Let me be clear, I didn't know him personally but I knew of him and was so happy that my friend's daughter was going to have the ceremony she deserved. And then it was all taken away in an instant. Of course I tried to assemble some words of encouragement when all I really wanted to do was hit something.

And then I found out something even more tragic. Apparently there was 6 other overdoses on the same day in the same city. They've been putting out emergency notices to those in the addiction community. There was some extremely potent heroin going around that was laced with lethal amounts of fentanyl and he just happened to be the unlucky one this time. With so much to look forward to... why would somebody even need drugs right?

But I know the answer. Addiction will strike when things are rough in your life and it will hit when everything is absolutely perfect. It's a life-seeking monster that only wants to destroy. The sick thing is, when I found out it really upset me emotionally and I actually had the thought that I wish I had some oxy to take to numb the feelings. After these months in treatment and my mind still wanted to be medicated. This has been a learning experience and I thank God I'm on buprenorphine. It's protecting me from any impulse to use right now.

I waited several hours to write this post. I found out about the death earlier this morning. I was just too sad and pissed off to write. My friend's family was completely oblivious to his addiction. No one knew anything about it until afterwards. Then came the stories about how difficult it had been for him to find treatment. All of the barriers put in place legally that made treatment nearly impossible. I think that part was the worse. That's when I had a good cry.

I'm basically writing this as a favor for my friend. She wants everyone to get the information out that this disease takes lives every day, every day. More than car accidents, more than natural disasters and more than terrorism. Thousands are dying. And we only have a few scientifically backed methods of treatment that work and I feel like they are coming after our medicine along with all the other opioids. There's no excuse why it should be so hard or so expensive for people to access treatment including subs or methadone. But especially subs because of how it works differently.

I remember what I had to go through to finally get into a treatment center. It nearly killed me. And I was one of the lucky ones. It took several weeks because I happened to also be on a low dose of Valium that was being prescribed for me. Every treatment center I called refused to treat me until I could pass a UA for benzos. After being on them for years it was built up in my system and Valium has one of the longest half lives. The message I kept getting was come back in a month. Come back in a month... are you serious? The staff at the emergency room were the ones that found only one place that would take me near where I live. That's not right or at least it shouldn't be.

I don't know how many times this young man tried to get help but I'm getting the impression it was quite a few. I wonder if he was ever told to "come back in a month". Well he didn't wait. And even though he was going to be married to a wonderful girl, he still felt the need to use.

** Please, those of you that are shaming others for wanting to be on this medication for long periods of time, stop it. There are risks with any medicine but don't make us feel bad about it or try and scare us. Let us make that decision with our doctors and then try and live in peace. My thoughts are all scattered and I'm starting to ramble on so I'll stop here. Thanks for reading this you guys. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you love them whenever you get the chance. You never know when it will be the last.

- OM

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:39 pm 
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That's a tough one OM. My condolences to all who knew him.

Sometimes I wonder if I'll live long enough to know if and when Suboxone/Buprenorphine treatment will go mainstream. Meaning, any addict regardless of age, race, etc., will be able to walk into any doctors office of their choice and receive a prescription for Bupe. It is a daydream for sure but then I'm an optimist and believe that one day our society will see the light and put a stop to the needless deaths. We are so very far away from that being a reality but it's still a nice thought.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:04 pm 
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OM, I'm so sorry to hear about this young man's death and the devastation it has caused among his family and friends. None of us deserve to go like this, whether we are addicts or not!

I think there are very few of us who don't know someone who has been affected by an overdose death. People can debate about side effects and length of time on buprenorphine, but what it comes down to is that a person on buprenorphine is safe from overdose death. I tend to think that anyone who is more concerned about their relative/friend being on a medication for addiction than they are about their friend staying alive has screwed up priorities. You never hear a loved one say, "Yes, it's sad that he died, but at least he was "clean" up until that point!"

Amy

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:50 pm 
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Thank you for the kind replies you guys. It really helped out while I was trying to process this tragedy. I was able to talk to the mother and found out some very important pieces of information. Apparently both of them have a history with addiction, but it was the groom who had been addicted to heroin for years. Both young people had been on suboxone but ran into issues trying to get it from a doctor.

I guess they were going through withdrawal together and he went out and bought some heroin to get 'better' like so many people feel forced to do. The young man gave the last piece of sub to his fiance because he didn't want her to relapse. He told her that he took half a tablet so she wouldn't feel bad about taking the last of their subs. She didn't know he decided to shoot up a little until he wouldn't answer the door to the bathroom. She pounded hard on the door but there was no reply.

I don't know all of the details but at some point they got the door opened and he was laying there unconscious with the needle still in his arm. He didn't die right away. He was a real fighter. He had a lot to live for. But later at the hospital, the doctors pronounced him brain dead to the family and that's when they decided to let him go. It was in no doubt one of the most painful decisions they had ever made up to that point. And my friend is a very strong person.

Please, everybody, I'm not trying to make you all depressed. I'm sharing their story at the request from his mother. I told them about this site. In fact, that's when I told her that I have been an addict too but that I'm in treatment. It's important for people to know this young man wanted help. He jumped through all of the hoops and went through all of the red tape to get his medicine. And for whatever reason that didn't work out and he was sick from withdrawal, they both were.

He was trying to take care of his wife to be by giving her the suboxone while he took the poison from the street. The young girl is devastated because she realizes he was trying to protect her from the very tragedy that took him away. There is so much loss in this story. And this is only one story. There were 6 other overdoses that same day in the same city. I don't think they were fatal but I don't know for sure.

For those of you on treatment... be grateful everyday for your access to medicine. Do what you can to make changes in people's minds about the importance of having buprenorphine available as a tool to use against this horrible disease. Let's be proactive. There are far too many obstacles in the way for how many people need treatment. We all know that or we sense that somehow. I know it's overwhelming. But we can't let addiction to opioids continue to rob of us of an entire generation.

Thanks again for the comments.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:34 am 
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Yes! We all need to be advocates for our recovery with buprenorphine! It shouldn't have to be our job to educate people about the good that MAT does, but it sits in our laps for us to deal with.

We need better access to treatment!

I have been in touch with an organization operating in Michigan called Workit Health. They are starting up a mobile treatment bus/RV that will go from town to town in Michigan to reach addicts that are having a hard time finding a suboxone doctor. Each client will have access to an online coach as well as a physician who is prescribing their medication. It reminds me of the Bookmobile that used to come to our neighborhood when I was a kid!

I urge you guys to check out this concept because it seems like it could work nationwide eventually!

https://workithealth.com/

Amy

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:06 am 
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Thanks Amy, I think the idea is brilliant and it's just the kind of 'out of the box' solution we need right now. I've got such high hopes (no pun intended) for them as a successful treatment modality. I can also see where some people might have some problems, maybe with oversight of patients face to face, etc. But I'm sure they've already planned for any problems that might come up when you can't meet your patient in person. I love the fact that you can talk to a provider 24/7 on your phone.

The idea totally reminded me of those book mobiles that would drive to rural or inner city areas where the funding was lacking for a normal library. I never even thought about something like that for drug treatment. It's brave and it's bold, I'll give them that!! I also support it 100%

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:08 pm 
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This just breaks my heart. Oh how sad. I am sad, I am angry, I am hurt and I an shocked ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I am so sorry for your friend, and his daughter, everyone involved. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I just truly don't know what to say, and I am never at loss of words... I sure am sorry hun. My heart goes out to everyone involved. Sincerely your broken hearted friend, Angie PS And if no one has told you today that they love you, then I do, I love everyone here.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:19 am 
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Bamagurl22 wrote:
And if no one has told you today that they love you, then I do, I love everyone here.


Thank you sweetie, we love you, too!! It took me a bit to figure out what to write when I first started this thread. Like you Angie I was sad, angry and very hurt all at the same time. I think more than anything I wanted to stress that this death was preventable in my opinion... it didn't need to happen. Not when you have a young man that is doing everything in his power to get back onto suboxone.

This is a failure on the 'system' put in place that makes it so difficult to either gain access or even afford this life saving medication when you can get a doctor to prescribe for it. I still don't know all of the details yet. I'm giving the family some time and some space to grieve. But I do know this is not the end of it. There is one seriously pissed off family out there that wants answers and they are not the kind of people that will back down in the face of adversity.

If it were up to me, if I was a family member, I would be trying to get this story on every national news broadcast from coast to coast. I think it's that important. This young man didn't fit the stereotype. He was clean cut and very handsome and a lot of people were shocked when they found out because he had hid his problem so well. But that's also the telltale sign of an addict, we become experts at hiding that ugly aspect of our lives. But we do it to survive.

I'll continue to update this thread if there are any further comments or pieces of information that come to light. I really hope to see some kind of change come from this tragedy. It would be such a waste if it didn't. But I also know his mother is a private kind of person and she has been having a very difficult time processing this whole experience. It's not my place to push for publicity or notoriety due to the circumstances. I'll pray for her family instead.

- OM

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:13 pm 
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National news broadcast would be awesome. It might get the attention of some of the people who make these ridiculous rules that we all have to go by just to get treatment for our disease. The 100 patient limit per Dr. is one rule that I think is ridiculous, though I'm sure there is a reason for that, that I myself am not aware of. Also the price the Dr. office charges for the monthly visit. I know the Dr. deserves a nice wage for treating opiate addicts but when going to my Orthopedic Dr., they don't charge as much as the Suboxone Dr. does. I know a lot of people will not get treatment due to the cost. I went through hell waiting and waiting to come off Subs bc I couldn't afford the Dr. office visit and medicine, but after I saw the way I was going downhill fast trying to come off Subs, I don't see how I can afford NOT to be on Subs. This is a great thread OM. Sad but great discussion. Prayers for the family and everyone involved. Your forum friend, Angie


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