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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 6:06 pm 
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So I finally have a year clean of the most addictive yet the most pleasant drug on the face of the Earth, and even taking suboxone the cravings are not any better. I read stuff all the time that states that suboxone gets rid of all your cravings; that you don't even think about using. I'm not sure if everyone is taking some other drug, but the suboxone that I let dissolve under my tongue daily surely doesn't refrain me from getting the thoughts of using. Sure, I know that no addict is ever "cured", but this is not what I was expecting after a year. Honestly, I am not even sure how much the suboxone helps with cravings. I didn't go through nothing even close as bad as a lot of people whose lives were took over by opiates, but it was bad enough that I still think about how great it was to just sit back and relax feeling so incredibly well, although not thinking about how bad I felt when I couldn't obtain any opiates. I try to keep myself occupied and busy throughout my day, but, wow, it is just mind blowing how powerful those tiny pills are. I realize that it is only a year, but I feel that most of the cravings would be gone by now. I remember reading a post about if you would do it all over again and not change anything from the past, but I can one hundred percent say that I would do it over again just to avoid the most overpowering substance I ever took which changed my life for the worse.

Am I the only one who feels this way? I am trying to be honest here and want to see how widespread this is among the people on this board. I hate pretending that all the cravings are gone. I am probably coming off a lot more severe than it really is, but either way the cravings are still there.


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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 6:38 pm 
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I think when we read it
'relieves all the cravings'
thats meant to mean PHYSICAL cravings. I do not have PHYSICAL cravings for opiates.

I do however,have MENTAL cravings, on a daily basis.
It has gotten better. but I still THINK about how getting high USED to make me happy. I do. I dont think ive ever said I didnt. sometimes, its REALLY easy to 'push' it outta my mind.

Other times, i sorta 'stew' about it for a moment.
oh yea, and its been 13 months for me.

I also think that EARLY in my recovery, being clean was my bright new shiny 'toy' to show off to everyone. After awhile, its not so NEW AND EXCITING anymore, ya know?????

maybe thats whats hitting you right now???

all I can say is , FOR ME, getting high isnt as 'romantic' as it once was, because I know the incredible cost that comes along with it.
I did ruin everything with my addiction. ten years, creates a shitton of ruin too.

I dont know if that helps. but your NOT alone.
everyone ive ever talked to,
says "opiates are an ugly monster" as far as addiction goes.
face it, the 'odds' are stacked way agianst us.
Not many people beat it.

I think once you 'know that feeling'
thats IT.
and there was a time where it WAS the only thing that brought me ANY joy at all. and I thought forever it was the only thing that would.

I do hope things get easier for you. One thing thats helped me, is I do have to remind myself of all the BAD shit too. and after doing that OVER and OVER, now it comes without having to concentrate. so when I DO think about catchin a 'nod' I think about the time I wrecked my car catching one.
if that makes sense????

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 4:15 am 
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I have been off of opiates for almost two years and I also still have cravings. I think like the moderator wrote, the medicine helps alot with the physical cravings but the mental is a tougher hill to climb. One of the things that helps me with those cravings is I am still dealing with the financial fallout of my addiction. I have begun to repair the trust with my family but I blew through money like it was nothing for "my best friends" (that's what I called them). I get calls from collection agencies and my credit is beyond repair so when I start to miss them, I look at the thirteen missed calls on my phone or the threatening letter from a credit card company or think about the luxuries I could have purchased instead of swallowed and that reminds me where I was. There are times that nasty little thought of "let's just get TWO, come on, it'll take the edge off this stress.." comes into my head. At those times, to get my head back in the right place, I have to take more time to just sit there, acknowledge what I'm feeling ( and also ask myself if there was a trigger involved) and tell myself to let it go. Or I'll go out and work in my yard. Anything that brings me just a little bit of peace and keeps me occupied. Some people in the meetings I've gone to have been sober MANY years and they still have those moments. But they've also said they're fewer between and easier to deal with. I wish you the very best of luck!


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 4:34 am 
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Hey Crystale.

Wow you are 2 years clean off all opioids? Incl Sub / methadone? Congratulations. :) Were you on Sub previously?

As for the cravings thing. I've always defined cravings as urges to use drugs, something separate from physical withdrawal symptoms.

I've found that Suboxone does "manage" cravings, but it does not eradicate cravings. They're basically like a nicotine patch. When I'm quitting smoking and have a nicotine patch, my desire to smoke is calmed somewhat, but if I see a cute woman with a cigarette or I'm around smokers, I may still crave a cigarette. But the patches definitely make it easier, or even "possible" to live without smoking. But it still takes an effort on my part to not!

All Suboxone should do really is give us an "edge" over our addiction. It should diminish our cravings enough that our will-power can handle them. It doesn't make cravings go away completely.

I think what happens is that for many people, when first put on Suboxone, they're dose can be too high and they can even feel a bit "stoned". When like this, cravings are gone completely because their addiction has its fill and then some. But eventually tolerance grows and matches that of the dose. Its then that cravings return. But because we've gone a while with no cravings, and felt a bit nice, it can come as a shock that we actually have to deal with cravings again.


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 5:00 am 
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Hi tearj3rker! :D I'm still on the suboxone program ( my first post is about being switched from tablets to film) but I haven't relapsed on anything I previously used to try to dig my own grave. (That was my issue with why I started the topic- the "surprise" of it and my doctor and I have been slowly and successfuly getting me off of suboxone so I was concerned the film would throw a wrench into that :) ) What you said about a nicotine patch for a smoker is a perfect analogy for suboxone and still getting cravings. My doctor said that suboxone "tricks" your brain into thinking it has that opiate for that receptor stem for pleasure so phantom pain and the sickness would go away but cravings and triggers are psychological. (absolute paraphrasing there but I think it does help to explain why our minds would go there while taking suboxone :D )


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 7:38 am 
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It's good to keep in mind that Suboxone is an AID in helping us ...it's not a miracle pill that has magic abilities to suddenly cease all mental, physical and psychological issues that comes along with drug use/abuse.

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 11:23 am 
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Quote:
My doctor said that suboxone "tricks" your brain into thinking it has that opiate for that receptor


I'm not sure I quite get this. My understanding of it is that suboxone should address the physical cravings because IT IS occupying the actual receptors so our brain HAS opiates in it, so the brain shouldn't be craving the opiates. In other words, it shouldn't be "tricking" the brain into thinking it's got opiates, because it actually DOES have opiates.

My take on this is it's hard to differentiate between physical cravings and mental cravings or just plain desire to use. The way you describe your cravings, it almost sounds to me like you might need an increase in your suboxone dose. Now I am just throwing that out there, because it's a possible solution. Mental cravings/desires should pass with distraction and shouldn't have you obsessed with using all the time. That's why I think they could be more of physical cravings and an increase in dose might help you. But that's my non-professional opinion based on limited information.

Most addicts under stress - depending on how far out they are from active addiction - will go first to thinking about taking something to address their uncomfortable feelings. This is where learning new coping skills and other such things in therapy really help. (And those workbooks I'm always talking about.) We learn to turn to things other than pills or whatnot to address our stress. So in my mind, part of the desire/mental cravings boils down to our old, negative coping skills.

I do think in the this situation, it's a matter of determining if your "cravings" are really physical or just mental/desire to use.

That's my two cents. I hope you figure this out soon, so it doesn't continue to be a struggle for you.

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 12:01 pm 
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Maybe your dose needs to be adjusted? I can absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt tell you that when I was on suboxone I didn't have even the slightest urge to use... During that time I played golf with a drug buddy and he snorted roxy's the whole day- right in front of me (I know rude, right?) and I didn't even consider it.. (now that I'm off the subs I avoid this guy for obvious reasons)

I honestly thought that what I experienced was the norm but from reading some of the responses you got maybe it isn't? Not sure, but maybe look into adjusting your dose.. Might be worth a shot


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 12:26 pm 
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I personally feel that the subs have tooken away the voice that pushed me to use,use use,all i could . I am prescribed subs for addiction and pain and I take/am prescribed 20 mg a day and at first ( two months ago) I thought I had found the miracle pill. All my cravings had been magically tooken away. Today,those cravings or that little voice is still gone, but every now and then I think to myself about how I enjoyed the great feeling that opiates gave me. I remember the motivation,and that in the love type of feeling i used to experiance and , I ,well I wanna say I miss it,but I dont. I know way to well what a terrible way i was on the opiates , But yet every now and then I do think back.. Is this a bad sign of me needing a higher dose of the subs? Or is it just the addict in me ? I agree that the subs are not to be considered the magicall solution. they are a tool in our toolbox that can help us ,along with every other tool we can get our hands on to help us beat this monster addiction . I am completly new to the recovery side of the problem. my expertise is in the using side,so this is why i have joined this forum..I despertly want to learn all i can .to make my tool box fully loaded to fight this addiction. so ..i guess my questionj is ... am I normal to feel like i miss the feeling still, or should the subs have tooken that want away from me. In re reading what i just wrote so quickly straight out of my head ,I can really see that addiction is a hard thing to beat and it may take a very long time to actually win.so please I hope no one thinks i am a crazy here saying all i do .I just have alot of thoughts along with the goals.and this all is really tough. hope i make sense


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Hello,I really havnt had cravings for pain pills. So far.[17months]. But latey I've bn thinking about it from time to time. Like crystal.I've left myself in ruins money wise. Debts I can begin to pay. Honestly I blew all of it. Retirement,the stocks were sold,the savings spent. So I spend my days working at my shop then to keep busy,do yardwork an gardening an lots of meetings. So this is what my life is an how I keep from feeling these carvings. However,with summer here again I am finding it harder this time around. I lost friends in the wake of my addiction the last 4 years. So I stay in a recovery state of mind. And this does help. I am on 12 mgs though. Mostly I feel good. Just taking it day to day!


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 Post subject: cravings
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 2:19 pm 
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Just my opinion, but I think cravings are all mental. What we are talking about is the difference between dependence and addiction. For example, non-addicts who are on opiates for long periods after a surgery or accident who then stop taking them do go through withdrawal, but they don't crave. They were dependent, not addicted. I believe cravings are a symptom of addiction and totally psychological.


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 4:13 pm 
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but isnt the subs supposed to fill in the rec eptors thus stopping the cravings or wants and if so is what we still feel just the addiction in us crying to be fed. and it all comes down to will power , the subs are like our first line of defense...will power is what will make what we gain ..last forever. its the will power that seems to be the hardest to achieve ..especially if there were no more subs to take. so what can a person do..what kind of excercises would be beneficial to establishing will power strong enough to be in control of proper decision making if there were no suboxone..is this where na/aa would help? I am just looking for advice here..I feel like i need to work on will power while im on the subs so that in the long run i can gain more control over things..


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 8:13 pm 
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hatmaker510 wrote:
Quote:
My doctor said that suboxone "tricks" your brain into thinking it has that opiate for that receptor


I'm not sure I quite get this. My understanding of it is that suboxone should address the physical cravings because IT IS occupying the actual receptors so our brain HAS opiates in it, so the brain shouldn't be craving the opiates. In other words, it shouldn't be "tricking" the brain into thinking it's got opiates, because it actually DOES have opiates


My memory is still crap so I probably got what he explained wrong. But I DO remember him explaining my brain being "tricked" so I'll have to remember to ask him to explain what he meant (and write it down so I don't get it wrong ) at my next appointment :) .


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 9:25 pm 
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my dr explained the tricking the brain theory. thinking of a key fitting a lock, a full agonist fits in the lock and turns. a partial agonist {buprenorphine} fits in the lock without turning. turning is the high, just fitting is controling withdrawals only.


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 9:28 pm 
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my dr explained the tricking the brain theory. thinking of a key fitting a lock, a full agonist fits in the lock and turns. a partial agonist {buprenorphine} fits in the lock without turning. turning is the high, just fitting is controling withdrawals only.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 1:04 am 
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That's kinda true. Don't wanna sound like I know more than your doctor, but the analogy would apply more to naltrexone than to buprenorphine.

Buprenorphine still turns the lock, but not to the same degree as an agonist. Naltrexone sits in the lock but doesn't allow anything else on it.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 1:40 am 
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skidbro wrote:
but isnt the subs supposed to fill in the rec eptors thus stopping the cravings or wants and if so is what we still feel just the addiction in us crying to be fed. and it all comes down to will power , the subs are like our first line of defense...will power is what will make what we gain ..last forever. its the will power that seems to be the hardest to achieve ..especially if there were no more subs to take. so what can a person do..what kind of excercises would be beneficial to establishing will power strong enough to be in control of proper decision making if there were no suboxone..is this where na/aa would help? I am just looking for advice here..I feel like i need to work on will power while im on the subs so that in the long run i can gain more control over things..


I don't think there's any way to stop cravings. Cravings will come no matter what. There are ways to reduce their incidence, like staying away from triggers etc, but ultimately we do get cravings. It's not about fighting them, rather it's about not acting on them. And learning to separate one's self and one's actions from one's thoughts hugely helps in dealing with cravings.

Increasing dose of bupe may stop the cravings for a while. However I have found that with any dose increase, after a while once tolerance catches up, cravings do return, though perhaps not at the same intensity as before the dose increase. But they never disappear entirely.

Dealing with cravings is the most important part of recovery I believe, because it dictates whether or not a person will relapse.

People often say cravings are "psychological", but these days medicine shies away from the differentiation of physical/psychological, because anything psychological has a neurophysiological origin. ie every thought we experience is actually a complex chain of neurons firing in our brains. So when we have a massive craving to use, that manifests as intense thoughts and desires to use, its origin lies in some kinda fundamental fault caused by our addiction deep in our brain. In one way it is physical, but we experience it as psychological. Basically when we come to fall into addiction, we go through brain changes that are really quite long term. And when we attempt recovery, those changes result in recurring cravings months or years after we stop using. When our receptors don't have enough opioids and find themselves bare, they basically take-over our frontal lobe or the "rational" part of our brain and make it try to convince us the rational, smart and right thing to do is to use. This is a craving.

Suboxone attempts to rectify the "error" in our brain caused by addiction at its source, ie by filling our excess opioid receptors (because our addiction leaves us with too many) thus preventing them from inducing a desire to use. In a way this could be considered a band-aid solution though, because it doesn't give our addictive circuits a chance to downregulate. The addictive circuits don't repair, however the rest of the brain does. Ie while on Sub we get our lives together, our relationships, our jobs. The planning, communication, organisational, impulsive parts of our brain can fix up, but our opioid system is still reliant on external opioids. Basically if you take away the Suboxone, cravings return at exactly the same intensity as before we go on them. The ONLY way to prevent relapse would be to make sure we learn ways to handle cravings while on Sub. And this is quite difficult because while we are on Sub, our cravings are largely diminished, so people who haven't attempted abstinence before really don't know how intense cravings can get in early-recovery post-detox.

I could be wrong completely, but these days I consider cravings and withdrawal to be kinda on the same spectrum. ie cravings (intense desire to use) is really just the first sign of the withdrawal process. So it kinda goes Cravings --> Anxiety --> Goose bumps --> Sweating etc etc ... But you can still experience cravings without withdrawal. Cravings to me are the first sign that my opioid receptors want more than what they've got - ie I haven't had enough Suboxone, or the hit of heroin is starting to wear off, and if I don't cave in and use then eventually physical withdrawal starts to kick in.

But people can get cravings months after quitting? I actually remember when I was doing the abstinence thing, that occasionally I would get cravings months after I'd gotten clean that were so intense I'd start experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms as well. Goosebumps would rise, my eyes would water, I wouldn't sleep, even diarrhea if the cravings went for a few days. I guess it's because post-acute withdrawal our receptors are still not 100% downregulated. This is why we get PAWS, because post-acute detox we're only really 80 or 90% "withdrawn", but the receptors still got some normalising to do, we still have more receptors than we should, and it takes months even years for endogenous opioids to be at normal levels. Hence why people can still crave long after detox. But as long as we don't take opioids, and our brains keep repairing and our receptors downregulating, things only get easier as time goes.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 12:15 pm 
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Fireman,

What was your DOC? I only ask because maybe if it was heroin then the cravings might overpower the Suboxone. Maybe Oxy's too?

My DOC was plain old hydrocodone, Soma, and tramadol. The Suboxone did relieve me of all my cravings but not the thoughts. And let the thoughts come because I know I can't take any hydro or oxy or even H to get the high anymore. Suboxone has taken away the ability to feel those opiates anymore so I just don't think about them.

I did have two refills for 90 Norco's which I gave to my wife who takes them responsibly. Yes, I could have stopped the Sub and took the pills for one or two weeks until I felt them. Really? Does one really think I'd do something like that? Nope. It really isn't a choice anymore. Too much work to get a buzz. My liver would probably give out first.

Maybe up your dose? Have you spoken with your Suboxone doctor about this yet? I must say we don't hear this very often.

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 12:48 pm 
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Thank you very much tearjerker. Addiction is so much more then it seems to be from a quick glance. And wow I have so much to learn. I am trying my hardest to do all I can. I am a hard worker, and I am tired of being hopelessly led around by my addictions. although it was fun at times, I am lucky to be alive .And I am done with that type of fun. I have done without alot ,not to mention two tours of duty in the state pen, all because of my addictions. I have let down my family more then once ,and luckily they still are around. I am a good person , I know this and I hope to one day be able to help people here in the forum like you have helped me today. Wisdom and insight are very valuable tools to have in your tool box. and nowm they are in mine thank you again.I am gonna stop stressing on things that dont pay to stress on.I am gonna talk with my doctor about some things I have come to realize about my addiction, and I am gonna search for those triggers....I kinda have been already but when i write them down ..they really dont seem like the reasons whicjh made me use.. I keep thinking I used cause i wanted to. like for motivation before starting a work project. Or before beginning a fun weekend.. seems like i used so i could function. That isnt a trigger is it? wow I pretty much got way off the subject here ..sorry..but again thanks for your help,it has been quite usefull... I will quit for now and regain a line of thought..


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:31 pm 
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Thanks everyone for your replies! First, I totally think that cravings are all mental and anything physical I would consider more of withdrawals. I am not exactly sure whether I consider cravings to be withdrawals or not, or whether they are classified as withdrawals. After analyzing the situation in more depth, it seems to me that the majority and more recent cravings I have been experiencing are probably from the exposure of people talking about it, and I don’t mean glamorizing the drug but more so just simply talking about it. I am one of the few people I used with to receive help and recently I have heard that these people are still using and just hearing about it make me just think about all the fun times I spent while I always ignore how it ruined my life. As sick as this is, it is true and that is where I think most of my cravings are coming from at the moment. Although I have come to the realization that I will always have cravings for this potent drug about 3 millimeters in diameter. Either way, I randomly get these cravings regardless of the conditions of any given time. In the past I brought this up to my doctor a few months after I started suboxone treatment and he just freaked out. It has always kind of worried me to bring this up to him again because of this. I know I wrote this at my initial post but I am probably making this sound somewhat more intense than the situation is, but nonetheless I am still having the cravings and wanted to know how common this was among other suboxone patients.

For me, I always felt some sort of anxiety in social situations and after I took my first painkiller I immediately knew how to make it better. It almost served as an anti-anxiety drug. It made everything better, I mean everything. First I just used it when I hung out with friends, then when I had to be with my family, then when I was just hanging out alone, and then I HAD to have it. Whenever I had my drugs I always wanted to save them for certain situations but it didn't matter because I ended up using it whenever I had it. If I had 20 pills I always thought about that when I was going to run out because I always did. Now I feel like I am just kind of missing that feeling that I just absolutely loved and would do just about anything to get. Just for clarification, I don’t go through my day just obsessing over this. Suboxone has been a life saver for me so far and I credit the majority of my clean time to it, otherwise I probably would have relapsed and picked up right where I left off. It's obvious to me that suboxone isn’t going to get rid of every possible trigger and thoughts but I thought this was worth bringing up.

I thought I would add my drug of choice was always pain killers specifically the 80mg brand name Oxycontin pills, until they were discontinued and replaced with the pills harder to crush, and then it became the generic rapid-release oxycodone pills, referred to as Roxicodone or Roxy’s. When I couldn't obtain either one over the entire period of time I used, I would substitute hydrocodone-acetaminophen, oxycodone-acetaminophen, and RARELY heroin which I used maybe a combined six times, to avoid withdrawals and to get high from a very similar drug. Heroin was never my preferred drug because it is not as pure and cut up with just about anything, you don’t know exactly how pure it is, and it was harder to access unlike the pills with an imprint on it.

Sorry for the long post, but for those who have responded or taken interest in this topic I felt like it was necessary to elaborate on my situation. Once again, thanks for reading or responding.


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