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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:31 pm 
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Good afternoon all,
I talked with my doctor on my last visit and asked him if I could share his name on this site; he said he is taking new patients and if you get his name from here just tell him Jennifer V sent you.
Doctor Michael Behrend is located in Chattanooga Tennessee at the Chattanooga Spine Center, 8705 East Brainerd Road (423-800-0810). Suzanne will answer the phone; she is the most understanding and truly caring woman to have on your side. These two people are awesome and want nothing but for addicts addicted to pain pills or heroin to turn their lives into something positive.
Note: Doctor Behrend is not a high dose prescribing doctor. I'm on one and a half a day and he considers that high. The most important aspect about this doctor is that he's not on the short term ban wagon. He basically wants us (the patients) to eventually want to get off subs, but he leaves this life altering decision up to us. He also expects his patients to attend some form of therapy.
He's not too expensive either; the first day is 125 and you'll get the dose that fits you. The second day (the very next day) is another 125 and then you'll get a weeks script. The third visit (end of 1'st week) you pay another 125 and get a months script. From there on out you'll go once a month and pay 125 for the visit.
Again, if you're from the Tennessee area and consider going to Doctor Behrend, tell him you got his info from Jennifer V. on this forum.
Thanks and good luck.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:38 pm 
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Thank you for sharing this information, Jenny! This is exactly the type of doctor that everyone hopes to find. After the up front fees, $125 a month seems pretty reasonable. Does Dr. Behrend take insurance? It is also great that he doesn't start people out on high doses, but he does sound flexible as to what each individual patient needs! That is awesome!

Amy

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 Post subject: Great doctor
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:00 pm 
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Amy,
Number one, oh my goodness girl ~ it only took you 7 minutes to reply to my post. You girl are truly dedicated to this forum and helping the people on it. I admire you.
I honestly don't know the details regarding insurance. I would assume he takes the insurance that covers suboxone. For me personally, I have Tenn Care (a form of Medicaid) and my insurance will NOT cover my doctor visit, but IT DOES cover the medicine itself.
Suzanne is so easy to talk to so all anyone has to do is call, and she will find out anything needed to know, and whose insurance covers the visits or not.
Thanks again
Jennifer V.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:45 pm 
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Please don't hold me to a seven minute response time! Lol! Lord knows I am often not fast in replying. One of the things that helps me is that I link directly to "View posts since last visit". Anyone can access the link. It's on the Index page just above the Announcements section of the forum. It definitely helps to keep abreast of what is going on.

Could you ask Suzanne or Dr. Behrend if they take insurance or at least some kinds of insurance? Then you can report back. I'm happy for you that Tenn Care takes care of the cost of your sub!

You know, seeing how health insurance companies want you to take the cheapest medication available, I'm surprised that they haven't pushed back against Reckitt B.'s campaign to coerce doctors into only prescribing their expensive films. The insurance company lobby has to be as powerful as the pharmaceutical lobby, right? Idk, the thought just popped into my head.

Amy

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 Post subject: Great doctor
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:18 pm 
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Amy,
I'll be sure to call them tomorrow and get the info on if/what kind of insurance they take.
Question~~ What were you talking about regarding the films being prescribed verses the pills? Personally, I get the films. I do like the pills, but my doctor said they were being discontinued.
Jennifer V.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:04 am 
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I'm happy you found a doctor that you like and hopefully others can benefit from his feelings on long-term Suboxone use..

I personally wouldn't pay that much in a week for Suboxone doctor visit, since most only take cash for the visit. I'm used to the rare $250 when I see a new doctor, but the usual is $150 or so per month...not many doctors, aside from methadone clinics, will make a patient pay for the induction and the subsequent visits following induction....
I'm not trying to find fault in your doctor, don't get me wrong...but $375 in one week because he wants you to come in Monday, Tuesday and Friday, then the cost of the meds on top...that's a $500+ bill, even more for someone with absolutely no insurance at all...
Par for the course now is the bring someone in (new patient), under a $250 first-visit fee, induction usually lasts an hour, possibly two..show them how to take the meds....send them home with a 2-week script. In two weeks, they come back, and the $250 covers them to be seen again, a quick urine sample, another 2 week script..and once the dip stick shows no other drugs besides what should be there...they are on their way and don't come back for a month unless there's a problem.

And I'm seeing more doctors who don't focus as much on the therapy part too...
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying therapy shouldn't be involved....but take someone like me. I've been on Suboxone for 5 years now. After about 3 years of counseling, I was just being told the same things over and over. I still have weaknesses, and I still have faults. But not once in 5 years have I "slipped up" or relapsed. Not even for a week..not even a thought. So for me, going to counseling is a hassle. I spend my time with my family...and I mean...every day, of every week...every hour of it. I'm the primary parent that stays home with 4 children....wife has the good job making some great money. Not only that..our household just expanded even more a couple weeks ago, as my wife's parents, wife's sister, and wife's niece and nephew moved in for a while due to some financial hardships...

So our household of 6 people went to being a household of 11.
That's a lot of doing around the house, daily, to keep up with...and there's really not much time left to think of anything besides family business...
So if I had to go to some counseling session once a week or something like that, it would really be a hassle for me. It would actually do more harm than good in my case, since I never go anywhere to begin with..there surely aren't any drugs or drug dealers, or triggers in my home. And I spend so much time on the internet now, educating myself on addiction, treatment options, etc...I actually consider my therapy to be coming to sites such as this one, and talking with others about addiction and problems.

But, what works for me may not work for some. And I sure wouldn't suggest someone that's fresh off painkillers to try and do things the way I do them. I do it because I've spent so much time focusing one what I did wrong years ago, and I know the mistakes I made, the triggers, etc...and I've called MANY doctor offices and chatted with them about their suboxone program.
The most recent was a nearby clinic that has a Facebook page. They posted some things regarding their Suboxone program, and how they only did an 8 month to 14 month program, then took patients off Suboxone....and I can't agree with that.
And I posted my feelings...and have discussed back and forth with them about it, and they said that they don't put a mold on patients and try to make them fit the mold...they allow different treatments depending on the person.

At any rate, the more doctors who get into the long-term bandwagon, the merrier...no matter their cost. If I was bouncing from doctor to doctor paying $100 per month but only allowed to be in Suboxone for 6 months with each doctor..and one came into town that charged $300 the first month, and $175 each month after that...and believed someone should be allowed life-long maintenance if they desired it...I'd change in a heartbeat...and gladly pay more.

I hope that nothing changes your doctor's outlook on Suboxone treatment. I was doing fine with my previous doctor..and suddenly in February he said "I can't write you 2 refills any longer...you'll have to only get 1 refill and come back every other month, instead of every two months."
I was like.."uh, ok"...
Turns out..that isn't true (or the reason he gave)...he said the DEA had cracked down on the number of refills they could give out...and he was right...but they cracked down on the refills of LORTABS and other such things. NOT Suboxone.
My doctor appointment YESTERDAY that I had..I was told that I would get 3-month visits after having 6 months history with them.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:29 pm 
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Just one question.

Do you have to feed and bathe and hold hands with everyone there at all times?
I know that sounds harsh but you could totally make time for recovery.
Because...
If you were still using I bet you anything that some extra people and kids living in with you wouldn't of had you thinking... Well better stop using now because I have a house full of people.

Just some food for thought.


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 Post subject: Great doctor
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:35 pm 
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jonathanm1978,
I wanted to reply on a few topics you wrote about. Before I found my doctor I actually visited turntohelp.com; it is basically a suboxone doctor directory. There I was able to get the numbers to every sub doc in my general area. The one thing they ALL had in common was the initial fee of 500 or more for the first visit. So, you can imagine my thrill when I discovered my doctor who ONLY charges 375 for the initial introduction to the sub program. I imagine that all states are quite different regarding intro prices and therefore I understand your thought process thinking 375 might be high. I'm here to tell you that for East Tennessee it is very low and I lucked out.
On the therapy note: First of all I truly believe it is awesome you haven't even had a drug using thought in five years. That is wonderful. I can tell you this though; regarding relapsing or even just thinking about it...you sir are a rarity having never even thought about it.The majority of addicts in recovery most definitely think about it once in a while. The majority of addicts in recovery definitely have drug using thoughts due to having spent so many years in addiction, typically using drugs to assist in mental pain healing, and basically just being a part their life for so long that it's normal to AT LEAST think about relapsing.
Being a third year psych major and studying to be a substance abuse therapist I can also strongly suggest every addict in recovery remain in therapy. Therapy is not necessarily the thing that keeps you from relapsing; it can be the place you go to just talk about life in general and the issues that come along with being an ex addict. Also, it can be a great stress re-leaver. Please, don't think that because you've been clean for 5 years your above relapsing. Trust me when I say that relapsing is a part of recovery. MovieMaker1 had a good point, although somewhat bluntly put.

I told Amy I would report on my doctor's insurance policy. He is strictly a private doctor taking no insurance. However, he did mention that many of his patients fill out reimbursement forms and their insurance sometimes reimburses them for the monthly 125 charges. My insurance does not cover my monthly charge, but it does pay for the meds. So, each person just needs to see what their insurance will pay. It's tedious leg work, but worth the outcome.
Thanks
Jennifer V.

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 Post subject: One more thing
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:41 pm 
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jonathanm1978,
I wanted to add this thing that we are taking part in~~~ this forum, is basically a form of therapy, and can most definitely be enough therapy for some. Being completely honest, isn't that why you're here; for a form of therapy?
Thank you
Jennifer V.
This is definitely my therapy!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:47 am 
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Nice post!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:40 am 
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I replied to this..but apparently the server purge lost a few posts...but I'll try to repost basically what I said here.

I don't recall word-for-word, but I base my opinion on something that Dr. Junig said..and you should really watch his video on the subject, which I'll also post here for reference....but what's the purpose of never-ending therapy / meetings? After a certain period of time - which is likely different for everyone - what good does it do to continue going to meetings, and being in therapy, other than to pay an extra fee that you've already paid thousands into, on top of your added costs of 1)doctor visits monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, etc and 2) RX costs, which for me adds up to around $1400 yearly and that's just a 20% copay of the total cost...

No, I don't hold everyone's hand while they shower, and I'm not following folks around while they poop so they can make sure that I don't sneak off and score some smack..or pills...but I'm to a point and have been at this point for a couple years now, in which I don't think of, or even have triggers that I used to have. I used to remember what it was like to be spaced out on 300mg+ of oxycontin. I used to remember the feel, what it made me do, and how stupidly I would behave...but now, that's just a vague, distant part of my past that I can hardly consider even being myself. I'm so far from that person that it feels like I was someone else back then...and the way some people can't have refillable utility knifes because the blades remind them, or are a trigger, for their past...that shit doesn't even scratch a surface with me. I have absolutely NO part of me that ever thinks of reverting...and in the 5 years that I've been consistent and absolute with my treatment, I've not once slipped back into that world...not even for a binge. Made mistakes..yes..but quit taking Suboxone for any period of time....NO. Not ever...not once.

So..why should I continue with the endless cycle of therapy, meetings, or whatever? I've worked the hardest to mend that part of me, and I think for me, that going to meetings would put me at more of a risk than I would be if I just stayed home, with my family, and not put myself in that scene. Here's what the doctor has to say on the matter...a couple of things I'd like to point out here are:

"We're going to treat a person and help keep them clean either by Suboxone, or by meetings. Yeah, meetings do help reduce character defects....."
"they help do that when a person is very, very desperate and really, really needs to change. when a person's on Suboxone, they're not desperate, and so I really don't know if meetings do any good for a person on Suboxone."

That's not my own interpretation of what Dr. Junig said...that's verbatim, word for word...I typed it as he spoke. There you have it. Here's the video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7_4MRoNm5Y[/youtube]

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:22 pm 
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"So..why should I continue with the endless cycle of therapy, meetings, or whatever?"

Um, therapy is constantly evolving, yo. It's like fitness for the mind and soul. The question above is like a fit person saying "I'm in shape, why should keep doing that yoga class?" Also, not everyone plans on staying on suboxone for life. The only reason (and I can say this with 200% certainty) you don't have cravings is because you're on a drug. This could be fine for you but what about others who do plan on being substance free at some point? Therapy, meetings, 12 steps, etc. can be the only way for some to do that.

Also, you spout the same stuff here over and over so I'm wondering if this isn't your therapy? Just in a different form? I think we all get something similar out of this site but that precisely the same reason why people should continue therapy or meetings. Because talking about shit helps. Period.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:27 pm 
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Did you even watch the video? I mean...I didn't just make this stuff up.

"We're going to treat a person and help keep them clean either by Suboxone, or by meetings. Yeah, meetings do help reduce character defects....."
"they help do that when a person is very, very desperate and really, really needs to change. when a person's on Suboxone, they're not desperate, and so I really don't know if meetings do any good for a person on Suboxone."

That's straight from the doctor....

But I don't think I should have to defend myself on that part....I got 5 years clean living to speak for itself with NO relapses..at all. Speaks for itself, I think.(and 3 years of that without any meetings and therapy...go figure. I only joined here last year..so I managed to do with for quite a while without any outside influence from talking to others online, or in a therapy session)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:29 pm 
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I appreciate the comments about ‘therapy’; I hope people find this to be a therapeutic community. As with psychotherapy, I think that one of the goals here is insight—i.e. challenging one’s assumptions and pre-existing thoughts, on any topic. The person who ‘wins’ an argument here misses out on the value of this type of community. No bag of gold falls from the sky for winning on points here! The winner is the person who turns off the computer after reading or posting and realizes—‘that person had an interesting point….’

It’s been a while since the videos, but I don’t think my opinion has changed all that much. I see no value in forcing meetings on people who are taking buprenorphine. I’m no final authority on the issue, but my thoughts can be found in better detail by googling “suboxone’s complicated relationship with traditional recovery”—or something along that line. There is such a thing as ‘getting it’ in AA, and I don’t think one can get that thing without being very miserable and desperate—something that people on buprenorphine usually are not.

I have a number of patients who could use practice at simply being around other people. These patients feel very self-conscious, and think that they have severe ‘anxiety’—but in my opinion they just have a shortage of experience with social interactions, and no sense of identity. Meetings can be a great place to GAIN experience, since everyone at a meeting has the same ‘anxiety’ in social settings, and there is very little to lose by making an idiot of one’s self at an AA meeting (if it can even be done!). I’ll add that I prefer AA in GENERAL, because there is so much short-term recovery at NA that I’ve been to a number of meetings that seemed a bit off-track.. for example by becoming angry over some other person’s use of buprenorphine, which is technically called ‘taking someone else’s inventory.’

I have a couple patients who would REALLY benefit from 12 step meetings—i.e. who would benefit from practiced social interactions. I have sometimes wondered if I should use their prescription for buprenorphine as ‘leverage’ – as in ‘no buprenorphine unless you attend 2 meetings per week.’ But then I realize, that would be some very paternalistic sh#t… and a doc better make awfully sure that there is no broccoli in his own teeth before running THAT type of practice.
I DO make things like ‘social practice’ mandatory before even considering giving a person a benzo—a medication that almost always makes ‘anxiety’ worse in my experience as a psychiatrist….


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:51 am 
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I feel special that you chimed in on this, Dr. J...although I know you're pretty busy and seldom have time to peruse the forum as much as you'd probably like, I feel very strongly about my stance on the therapy topic...and I felt that way long before I found your video discussing it...I didn't see the video until a couple of months ago, and I've had the ideas about counseling for quite some time -- like a couple of years. So when I DID find the video you posted regarding it - ironically, 3 years ago -- I was like, "wow, he gets it from the standpoint that I view it from!!"...
I didn't suddenly derive my opinion because I watched and listened to what you had to say on the matter...it was probably late 2010 or early 2011 when I started thinking to myself "I'm going to keep doing my Suboxone no matter WHAT meetings I go to, or counseling sessions I attend...so do I really NEED that as a requirement of my treatment...i.e. should my medicine be held hostage for verification to be brought into my appointment showing I attended?"

But you're right in that there is no winner...and I do gain something by being here. I stayed gone for quite some time last year, but reasons were numerous..like mainly, having a newborn baby at home that I was tending to daily..once my wife went back to work, it was all on daddy then..since I'm a stay-home father...so I have been pretty wrapped up in the parenting business for the last year. Just since February or so has it been so that I could put her down and not be required to sit and hold her for the majority of the day. Plus, now my other children are out of school on Spring Break...which makes it even easier to sit at the computer. Added to that, my wife's parents and sister are staying with us for a while, there are more grownups here versus children...

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RIP little brother. Gone, but not forgotten.


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