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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:03 pm 
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Hello,
I have been addicted to opiates for 11 years, and I have managed to keep it hidden from everyone in my life, including my spouse and closest friends and family members. I want to be free of this addiction so badly, but I've tried everything and I'm horrified by the knowledge that I am not in control, and I just don't know what is going to happen to me.

I think I might be a good candidate for suboxone - well, actually - I don't know that. Who is a good candidate for suboxone? What does the treatment entail? I have two small children at home and I have no health insurance. Money is very, very tight for us, so I guess my main concern is how I would pay for it.

Can anyone walk me through the process? How many times to you need to visit the doctor, and to my biggest concern -- how much does that and the prescriptions typically cost? Does it really work? And if so, how long do you stay on the medication?

Thank you in advance for any advice. It's difficult and humiliating for me to be writing this, but I'm sure I'm not the first person to feel that way.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:43 pm 
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Hi and welcome! First I want to Congratulate you on realizing you need help and for seeking out the forum to get informed on Suboxone.

I too am a mom, I have 4 small children and like you became addicted to opiates. I have been on Suboxone for almost 6 months and for me (and many others) it has worked wonderfully. Instead of explaining the specifics of how Sub works I think you should go to YouTube and watch Dr. Junig's videos, I believe he posts them under suboxdoc as that is his posting name here. If you have trouble finding them I will post the link once I am at a computer (I am on my phone). He is an extremely knowledgeable Suboxone Dr and explains how and why it works much better than I could.

As far as cost goes it can be very expensive. For me my 1st appointment was $300 and $100 a visit after the initial appointment. After I was started on sub I had to come back in two weeks and from then on I have monthly visits. The medication is very expensive but R & B (the makers of suboxone) do have a patient assistance program that you can apply for. If accepted you will receive all of your medication free for one year. Every Dr is allowed 3 patients in the assistance program so you may want to take that into consideration while looking for your Dr.

Let me know if you have anymore questions after watching Dr. Junig's videos and I will help you to the best of my ability. I am sure others will be by as well to offer their knowledge on the subject. I sincerely hope you make the decision to get on sub or some other form of recovery. You deserve to live a healthy, happy life and your family deserves to have a happy, healthy mom. Please whatever you decide take care of yourself.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:54 am 
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Hi Sylvia and welcome to the forum. I know you are afraid and feel alone right now. And the possibility of sub treatment as well as the cost can be overwhelming. But I can tell you it is worth it! Active addiction is ALWAYS a dead end road. And like Breezy mentioned, there is the Patient Assistance Program. Here's a link to a post here on this forum about it:
http://suboxforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=2283 Hopefully it will give you some more info.

Also, at the top of every page is a suboxone doctor locator. You can search by area and when you start calling, I would start by asking if they have any slots open in the patient assistance program. You never know, you might find one off the bat just by calling.

All you can do is try! You deserve to take some time and find the help that you need.

If you've been on opiates for 11 years and have tried and tried to get off yourself to no avail then I'd say you're likely a good candidate for suboxone. Any more than that, a suboxone doctor could get into it more deeply as it relates to your addiction history.

Good luck and let us know how you make out. And like Breezy said, keep asking more questions as they come up. We're here to help and do what we can.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:26 pm 
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Thank you both so much for your replies, it means a lot to me. You're right, I do feel very scared and alone! The problem is that if my family ever finds out about this, I'm afraid that my in-laws would be quite malicious - that's why I've managed to keep it a secret for so long. I've been on opiates longer than I've even been married to my husband. That's really sad.

I did find the list of doctors in my area, so I will start calling around. I do have a little money saved up (that's what I use to buy my pills!) and that might cover the doctors appointments, but no way would it cover the medication, so I will hope to find someone with the assistance program.

First though, I will read the link to the post that you mentioned. I'll be back - thanks again.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:28 pm 
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Looks like I won't fit the income restrictions for the program. :(


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Suboxone is buprenorphine and naloxone. The bup is the active ingredient in sub and the naloxone is added to supposedly stop people from injecting sub. They claim it is not absorbed when taken sublingually (the correct way to take sub) but people do have adverse reactions to it. Also it really does nothing to stop injection so in my mind it's just a big joke.

There is no generic for Suboxone but there is a generic for Subutex which is buprenorphine without the naloxone, so it works just as good if not better than Suboxone. The problem is a lot of Drs are hesitant to prescribe it because they buy into the whole naloxone fantasy. I pay cash for my meds and am prescribed 16mg a day, so I get 60 pills a month. When I was on Suboxone it cost me about $475 a month, my Dr switched me to generic Subutex and the same amount only costs about $170 for my month supply.

The only problem is like I said a lot of drs buy into the bull and automatically assume your drug seeking just because you want to save money. So when calling drs you could ask if the Dr is open to prescribing generic Subutex. It may be hard to find one but doesn't mean it's impossible. Also if you can get by on a lower dose, say 8mg or 12mg your cost would be even cheaper as you are charged per pill.

Another thing that you can do is to only pick up as much as you can afford. If you only have enough money for a weeks worth the pharmacy will let you do a partial fill and come back for the rest (or however much you can afford again). We have some members that could only pick up 2 or 3 days worth at a time.

One last idea is to look into your county health programs, they may have sub drs that will see you based on a sliding scale. This could drop the Dr cost significantly.

Have you thought about talking to your husband? This is a lot to take on alone and support is very important. I was scarred to death to tell my husband, but he was and is extremely supportive. In fact I think it has brought us closer together. I know it's scary but remember he loves you and though it may shock him at first I am sure he would be glad you let him in. Also him knowing may help you to budget some money for treatment. I am sorry that it is so expensive, it is completely ridiculous. Such an important treatment should be more affordable. Know you are not alone, we are here to support you in anyway we can. Even if you just need someone to talk to. Please feel free to pm me anytime, it can really help to chat with someone who has been where you are. I really hope you can find a way to get into treatment.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:47 am 
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sylvia224 wrote:
Hello,
I have been addicted to opiates for 11 years, and I have managed to keep it hidden from everyone in my life, including my spouse and closest friends and family members. I want to be free of this addiction so badly, but I've tried everything and I'm horrified by the knowledge that I am not in control, and I just don't know what is going to happen to me.

I think I might be a good candidate for suboxone - well, actually - I don't know that. Who is a good candidate for suboxone? What does the treatment entail? I have two small children at home and I have no health insurance. Money is very, very tight for us, so I guess my main concern is how I would pay for it.

Can anyone walk me through the process? How many times to you need to visit the doctor, and to my biggest concern -- how much does that and the prescriptions typically cost? Does it really work? And if so, how long do you stay on the medication?

Thank you in advance for any advice. It's difficult and humiliating for me to be writing this, but I'm sure I'm not the first person to feel that way.


TO sylvia224: I think one of the hardest things to do when in addiction is to TELL someone. I would lie and lie to my husband to get money for drugs...for instance : all these checks to the grocery store and he would say " where are the groceries?" You won't believe the relief after you tell him, whether he gets mad or not it is out in the open and he will understand you need help. I live in Texas and my Dr. visits are 150.00 mo. ( I had to go in two weeks at first). I asked my doctor for subutex because it was much cheaper and it was NO problem with him....I get 60 pills a month for $10.00 on my drug card. I think you said you don't have insurance so it would be higher. You said you have been on pain pills for 11 years...I wonder what that would add up to in dollars??? I don't know how you get your drugs...Dr. shopping or on the street, whatever it can be very expensive. Subutex took all that mess away from me. I don't have to suffer withdrawals when I run out...I don't have to be constantly chasing the pills, never having enough..you know the deal. Subutex just took all the desire for opiates away from me. I don't even think about pills anymore. I have more money. I have my life back!
Please..tell your husband and find a doctor. You can do this! You are not unique...we have ALL been there! Good luck to you and keep us posted!.......Judy


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:45 am 
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sylvia224 wrote:
Looks like I won't fit the income restrictions for the program. :(


I'm really sorry about your situation. But this reaching out takes courage. It's not something to be ashamed of. Many people look on this moment as the point when things start to change for the better. So congratulations.

Remember that, by going on Suboxone, you will have a lot of extra money left that was spent on your drug of choice. Many people forget this. I'm guessing that this money you wasn't on the "official budget". I'm also guessing that you're wanting to keep the Suboxone financing off the radar as well. This would really limit your options. If you were open with your husband, there'd be a chance you could both make room for treatment in your budget.

There are other methods to assist with recovery than Suboxone, but there's none I can think of that a person could keep off the radar. Maybe it's one of those things we gotta get honest about.

And you're right. In-laws don't need to know about these things. Surely your husband could keep it between the two of you?

This condition is not to be ashamed of. Through my recovery, a lot of people have come to know, and I've been surprised by the level of acceptance. TV shows have had a lot to do with this I think. They seem to respect our choice to recovery, and the challenge it entails.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:54 am 
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slipper wrote:
sylvia224 wrote:
Hello,
I have been addicted to opiates for 11 years, and I have managed to keep it hidden from everyone in my life, including my spouse and closest friends and family members. I want to be free of this addiction so badly, but I've tried everything and I'm horrified by the knowledge that I am not in control, and I just don't know what is going to happen to me.

I think I might be a good candidate for suboxone - well, actually - I don't know that. Who is a good candidate for suboxone? What does the treatment entail? I have two small children at home and I have no health insurance. Money is very, very tight for us, so I guess my main concern is how I would pay for it.

Can anyone walk me through the process? How many times to you need to visit the doctor, and to my biggest concern -- how much does that and the prescriptions typically cost? Does it really work? And if so, how long do you stay on the medication?

Thank you in advance for any advice. It's difficult and humiliating for me to be writing this, but I'm sure I'm not the first person to feel that way.


TO sylvia224: I think one of the hardest things to do when in addiction is to TELL someone. I would lie and lie to my husband to get money for drugs...for instance : all these checks to the grocery store and he would say " where are the groceries?" You won't believe the relief after you tell him, whether he gets mad or not it is out in the open and he will understand you need help. I live in Texas and my Dr. visits are 150.00 mo. ( I had to go in two weeks at first). I asked my doctor for subutex because it was much cheaper and it was NO problem with him....I get 60 pills a month for $10.00 on my drug card. I think you said you don't have insurance so it would be higher. You said you have been on pain pills for 11 years...I wonder what that would add up to in dollars??? I don't know how you get your drugs...Dr. shopping or on the street, whatever it can be very expensive. Subutex took all that mess away from me. I don't have to suffer withdrawals when I run out...I don't have to be constantly chasing the pills, never having enough..you know the deal. Subutex just took all the desire for opiates away from me. I don't even think about pills anymore. I have more money. I have my life back!
Please..tell your husband and find a doctor. You can do this! You are not unique...we have ALL been there! Good luck to you and keep us posted!.......Judy



TO sylvia224: I have to add this: I think you are an excellent candidate for suboxone/subutex (subutex is the generic for suboxone), especially after being on opiates for 11 years..also you mentioned you hated not being in control...not knowing what's going to happen to you..I can tell you from experience the longer you are on them the chances of bad things happening increase. I got a credit card and had it sent to the school where i worked as school nurse. I started charging my drugs on it ...not planning for it to go very high...before I knew it I had it up to $10,000!.....that is just one of the things he had to find out. Then I started calling my own scripts in. I KNEW IF I CONTINUED TO DO THIS I WOULD FINALLY GET CAUGHT...and that is just what happened! I won't go in to all of it but that was the most awful humiliating thing that ever happened to me and it took months and months for my husband to even look at me again. I'm not trying to scare you I just saying I wish I had told my husband the truth long before any of this happened. He said what he hated most was the LYING.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:41 pm 
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Methadone might be a option to explore.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:36 pm 
It would really shock me if your husband didn't have any idea that something has been off with you at one point or another if you have been taking illicit opioids for 11 years! I'd encourage you to have a heart-to-heart with your husband, explain to him that you have a problem, that you have been looking into ways to address the problem and that you have found one in Suboxone that you wish to further explore. If your husband loves you, he will support you. For better or worse, right? Only people you want to let in have to be let in, if you don't want his family to know, how will they know? You can talk to your husband about this now and try to address the problem by getting into recovery, WHATEVER your version of recovery is going to look like (suboxone or not), or you WILL continue to use opioids and something drastic will eventually happen and many people including your husband are going to connect the dots. Someone mentioned methadone...I don't think you even stated what opioid you were using/how much, so I don't know if that would or wouldn't be appropriate, but I do know that if you stick with the dishonesty route and want to hide your recovery from your husband...methadone isn't going to be the way to go unless you could explain away $15+ dollars for doses daily plus at the very least an hour being mysteriously gone each and every day early mornings-noon. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge advocate for methadone in certain populations, but I'm not sure if you do or don't fall into that population...But I digress... At any rate, you should get honest and get into recovery!

-Travis


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:48 am 
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We've ALL spent WAY too much money on drugs, searching for the next high, stashing cash from our families and friends, selling things that we worked hard for etc etc but people are afraid of spending money for legal drugs to help them recover. Think of this when the cost of some of these meds to help with addiction come up. Suboxone IS an expensive medication if you don't have insurance. But NOWHERE near how much we've spent on keeping our addiction alive. So put your health first no matter what the cost is because you don't want to have lost everything and look back wishing you would have spent the money to help yourself. Good luck! Things get better. Trust in it...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:37 am 
The cost...

We charge:

$300 for induction (usually over 2 days-6hrs)
$150 for each office visit thereafter:

A.) 1 visit every 7 days x 3
if all three U/As are clean (we also check bupe levels) then:
B.) 1 visit every 14 days x 2
if these two U/As are clean then:
c.) 1 visit per month

Every visit requires a U/A (included in $150 fee)
Dirty U/A require (B).... still dirty requires (A)... still dirty requires discharge until inpatient treatment or 6 months of methadone treatment completed.

Every patient MUST have a active relationship with a therapist (we check monthly and get status reports)
We DO NOT accept insurance of any sort... but will give you the paperwork to submit for reimbursement by your insurance company.

We only use Subutex in special circumstances...

Why...??

Because we recognize that a mesocortical tract, VTA, NA and all accompanying structures and neurotransmitters that form that system has folks doing all sorts of things that the person really, logically knows better than to do. We KNOW that poor judgement, craftiness, rationalizations, diversion, deceit, etc are all... at different times inherent with this disease. We also know that what starts off as "I need it to be cheaper," can end up with I need it to be EASILY insufflatable, injectable and virtually undetectable.

So regardless of any reasons a addict is gonna give, we feel that it is NOT in the best interest of the patient to "play with the fire" without a damned good reason. Cost doesn't qualify as a damned good reason in our books. Especially when one considers what was being spent on "street drugs."

The "cost" conversation periodically comes up in our practice.
Often enough that we had a spot programmed into our EMR that shows on every screen how much the patient reported daily cost of use was. So that when the topic is broached, its easy to "gently" remind the patient that $150/month plus the cost of meds for a legal prescription and shelter from law enforcement is a discount when one considers that they reported a $100-$300 a DAY habit, legal issues, probation fines/fees, fear of the cops finding pills or dope in the vehicle, drug testing if/when they get employed, etc.

So yeah it costs a bit... but not as much and/or as risky as copping dope off the street daily...

For your consideration,

YMMV


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:00 am 
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But doc, aren't you assuming that all of your sub patients were getting drugs off the street? Many addicts were addicted because they took prescribed meds and never got any off the street. Their insurance paid for their drugs and they never spent any money on their "habit". For them and their children, paying cash for treatment IS a genuine hardship. And refusing to take that into consideration to me, is a one size fits all attitude and that never works.

Also, one can insufflate suboxone just as easily as they can subutex. Any abuse of subutex can also occur with suboxone. Not to mention that fact that some people are allergic to ingredients in suboxone. We currently have someone on this forum with an allergic reaction and his doctor refuses to switch him because of a similar attitude that you are illustrating. Now I'm not saying you would be as closed-minded, in fact, somehow I doubt that.

Stick around - in fact go back and read some of the posts about people being forced off suboxone or not being switched to subutex. Just check them out. Get the patient's perspective. And with any luck, we can get the doctor's perspective from you. And the end result is we can all have our eyes opened to a different way of seeing things.

Thanks for your input, doc. It's a great addition to the site.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:37 am 
Hatmaker...

Not assumption at all.

Just a scientific AND practical "over"standing of human behavior, psychiatry, the dopamine-reward system, pathophysiology, and the current science of addiction/addiction psychopharmaclogy.

Not a "one size fits all" but a clear and concise disclosure prior to induction of "this is how we work and if this doesn't meet your needs, you are free to seek another practice/provider that will."

Not "closed minded" at all... but just happen to have a keen "bull-shit" meter having been surrounded and reared by functioning and non-functioning addicts my entire life.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:34 am 
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Just wanted to share that in the beginning of my suboxone treatment I was paying out of pocket for my weekly prescriptions ($100) and my weekly appointments with my doc ($80). Needless to say I was racking up quite a medical bill. I was fortunate enough to be accepted for financial aid from the hospital my doctors affiliated with. At first it was just for my appointments but they later introduced a prescription plan and I now am getting my treatment completely paid for. Which means SO much to me because I went without any kind of insurance or help paying for treatments for a long time and it was very discouraging!! I don't know your situation but if you can find a sub doctor affiliated with a hospital they usually have some kind of financial aid program. It's worth a shot and I really feel your pain struggling to pay for treatment on your own. I only hope you can work out someway that works for you. You just have got to keep trying.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:52 am 
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Sylvia I totally hear you! Im only 23 and work as a busser in a restaurant so I completely understand about $ being a real concern. I am less than a week into suboxone treatment but it is completely worth it. I was thinking that you say you're uninsured, so that means if rx opiates were your drug of choice then they were out of pocket as well. I guess I just wanted to reaffirm what has already been said, you will find a way to make it happen. I only bought 3 strips my first time at the Rx ($35 at target). You are makin a great decision (prob the most important one ever) and I hope to see you back on here telling us of your success.


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