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 Post subject: How legal is suboxone?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:18 pm 
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Hello. I have been on suboxone 8mg once a day for two weeks. I had a very bad opiate addiction as well as an ambien addiction. Well, I should say have because I will always be an addict, but I am working on it.

I was arrested for doctor shopping for my two DOCs about a month ago. Since then, I have entered into a rehab program. I went through detox, and now I am seeing the psychiatrist weekly. It is all out patient. I have two children, and for the time being, I am allowed to keep teaching my classes and work as usual. However, I am sure you can all imagine how horribly scared I feel every day.

I have been using suboxone daily for the opiate dependency that I have. I feel like a normal person for the first time in my life. My psychiatrist thinks it is working well. I have tried cold turkey too many times to count, and for the first time in the past ten years, I can see myself living a normal life and being drug free accept for the suboxone. But I am not breaking any laws obtaining it, so I feel good about that.

I am worried that my treatment with suboxone might hurt my legal matters. I understand that there is a lot of stigma with suboxone. Not everyone fully understands how it works for an opiate addict like me. It worries me that I will not be able to continue what is, quite frankly, saving my life right now. I have never felt what it is like to walk around just being a normal person without a dependency issue or depression. For the first time in my life, I understand. I don't want to lose that. Will I need to get off the suboxone for probation or for court? I know I may go to jail, and in jail, there is no suboxone. I want to do whatever makes my chances better for staying out of jail. Should I discontinue even though I think it is saving my life? Please help.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:06 pm 
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Hi teach,

Yes, it definitely sounds like you're in a scary place right now with the prospect of incarceration, and not being able to have the medication that you need. I'm glad to hear that you're taking steps to take back your life, and I'm glad the suboxone is working well for you also. I'm not sure about whether or not the judge or PO can legally force you to stop taking your meds that are legally prescribed to you.

I think it depends on the judge and the state. They're all different. My advice is to continue to do well with your program, following your doctor's orders to the letter, and taking your meds properly, working hard at your job and continue to stay out of trouble. These things can go a long way for you if the judge/court sees that you're seeking professional help for your addiction issues, and that you have a stable job and income, and children to care for. Also remember that unfortunately, we are judged by the company we keep, so ditch any using friends or acquaintances, or dealers you had, if you haven't already done so. I cannot say for sure that doing these things will help you avoid harsh punishment, but especially if you have never been in trouble before, doing these things could help the judge or PO look more favorably on you/your case. Do you think your doctor/psychiatrist would be willing to speak for you or write a letter ti the court for you saying that you need this medication, and that you're doing well, and are in compliance with the program? That could help you also.

I have heard of PO's or judges ordering someone stop taking their medicine, but I think if you continue to do well with it and don't get into anymore trouble, it's unlikely that you'll be forced to stop.
I certainly hope everything works out in your favor and your able to keep your job and your freedom and be able to keep taking the medication that's saving your life. Please keep us updated on how you're doing and if you have more questions. We're all her for you and wishing you the best!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:04 pm 
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I feel for you buddy... My issue was semi-similar except I didn't get arrested for Dr. shopping. However though once I finally decided I could not continue on after 10yrs of Dilaudid & methadone (with fentanyl before the done). I simply couldn't function anymore and my addiction even though it started with medical problems it turned into a full blown BAD addiction over the years. I was injecting my Dilaudid into my PICC lines eventually and when I didn't have one in then I finally stooped to just finding a vein for the dilaudid.

Of course right when I finally take detox seriously, drop my Dr, & find a very compassionate one willing to help me detox & treat me with Subutex then I got in legal trouble for the first time in my life. I was even already going to intensive outpatient rehab 4 days a week for 3 hours each day. One day on my way home from group I get pulled over giving a friend a ride home and low and behold the police officer finds a syringe in my car which was tucked under the seat & to this day I swear I totally did not know that was in my car.

I even consented to the search basically thinking I had nothing to hide. Next thing you know I'm booked in jail facing a possible feloney or misdemeanor if im really really lucky. They assumed it was for "heroin" and I told the detectives that although I know what I was doing in the past was wrong but I promised them it would test positive for Dilaudid which I was prescribed. I ended up bailing out on only a misdemeanor (so lucky!) im guessing it was because the syringe tested positive for Dilaudid.

But I was panicking just like you all the way to sentencing. You want to know what helped the most though and basically got the case thrown out and dissolved? They were trying to give me 180 days in jail on a first offense EVER & all kinds of crazy stuff. I had to take it to trial but after all the time it took to get to trial I had so much on my side. This is what I did and it would help you.

I hit my Intensive outpatient Rehab groups 4 days a week for 3 hours hardcore. Became a model patient there & submitted to 2 UA's a month. At the same time I also made sure to keep everything with my Sub Dr' amazingly squeaky clean & actually befriended him to the point we got pretty close. As court approached I was able to show 6 months in rehab that i put MYSELF in with no court order.

Between my Dr and IOP I was taking 9 UA's a month ALL clean for everything except the Subutex I was using. I got letters written to the judge from my Dr' about my "Amazing compliance and impeccable UA's" & I also got an amazing letter from the place I did my IOP which also stated that I had amazing attendance and was UA tested 2 times a week for 6 months and never failed & they also gave me a certificate of completion for IOP for court.

I only had a public defender but basically with everything I provided between a respected Dr's note for me, the IOP program I completed with an amazing letter (from the lady who is the clinical supervisor of "Drug Court" where i live nonetheless. The accumulation of 9 UA's clean a month through the combination of both programs & basically the judge was so impressed that I went and took the initiative to complete rehab on my own without being ordered and he was very impressed with my Sub Dr. and literally ordered me to only one minor probation term for 1 year and it was to STAY WITH MY SUB DR ON SUBUTEX. Everything else got dropped. No feloney record just a simple misdemeanor for drug paraphernalia.

Hope that was at least a little bit encouraging because I thought I was doomed.


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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