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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:07 am 
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How Long have you been taking suboxone? How do you respond to people that want you off suboxone?


I've been taking suboxones for a year and everything is great. However I feel pressure from my parents to stop taking them. I even feel some pressure from the counselor I see that I was referred to by my doctor (doctor makes all patients attend counseling while on suboxone, and topics rarely include drug counseling). To be honest I feel the counseling is minimally beneficial. Its just costing me money and causing me problems with my doctor when I have to reschedule a session, but that another story. My parents say "When are you gonna get off those things" and my counselor keeps asking "have you thought about tapering off", this all says to me that they all want me to stop. I think they see the amount of time I've been doing well and think I don't need it anymore, However I know Im not ready for a fact, but i refuse to say to my parents that if I stop I may use again I sort of don't want them to think that because I don't want them constantly worrying. Two months ago I ran out of subs because I couldn't get in to see the doctor and I was way to close to getting something on the street to hold me over, if I had to wait any longer I think I might have. Some of my friends are still using once in a while, and the capability to use is always there, What helps is knowing that if I did something I wouldn't feel it anyway because of the suboxone in my system. While Im taking suboxone Im a 4.0 student, I work, and can attend family functions. When Im not on suboxone Im constantly feeling I need to take something. Every time I sneeze, yawn or get goosebumps, I automatically think "am I getting sick?" for you guys that are off or in the process of weening, how long did you stay on suboxone? For the people currently taking it, how long have you been on it? Im just trying to get a sense of the amount of time people usually take it.

Secondly I just wanted to ask about switching doctors. Im looking for a different doctor for location reasons and Im wondering whats involved in that process, is it simply just making an appointment with another doctor and having your records being forwarded to the new doctor? or is there more to it? If it would be difficult I would just stay where I am and make the commute, but it would be a little more convenient if I could see someone closer.


Any information would be appreciated, Thanks in advance!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:22 am 
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Well Scott, I personally have been on Suboxone for right about 3 years now and I'm only 24 years old. I was going to a counselor in the past as well because I thought it would help but he was also indirectly pressuring me to taper off the Suboxone. I've finally come to the conclusion though that I feel safe staying on the medication and much more stable mentally. I've tried staying clean both with Suboxone and 12step programs and I can say without a doubt that Suboxone has been so much easier and requires maybe 1/10'th the time. My family was also skeptical about me starting Suboxone but after they began to see how much better I was doing and feeling they began to change their minds. What really helped was them seeing firsthand people I knew in treatment who weren't on Suboxone relapse. I know that sounds aweful but once they really did start seeing opiate addiction as a matter of life and death and realizing that it is just as much of an illness as depression or any other psychological disorder they were a bit more open to the idea of taking medication. Hope you're able to work something out and it does sound like you might be better off finding a doctor you see more "eye to eye" with. It really isn't a big deal to change you just find another doctor that has room for you and then let your first doctor know you're moving and you're going to change over to a doctor closer to where you live.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:36 pm 
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Hey Scott-

I did the route of the family physician. It was a little research about their clinic, a phone call, and an intake visit.

The price for me was the best part. I would consider not giving up your 'known' doc though until you know the new doc's way of things.

I say this in regards to the fact the family physicians typically don't see as many long term patients. Most are just getting 'sub' authorized. Some are fantastic. make sense?

If you get one, with a similar philosophy, you can always cancel the original one, and move over.

My patient clinic dos seems fantastic. I think he 'thinks he is smart about adiction' stuff, but is starting the - well it's been 6 months... then we'll talk taper... I'm staying with him for now... but if I get smacked, relapse, etc... then I'll be like you.

I've been on less than 3 months - and like you I have not used a drop of opiates (available every day!)

Happy Holiday!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:59 pm 
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Just one word of advice if you do decide to change doctors be sure to tell them both before starting to see the new one. I'm sure you know this already but alot addicts have a history with dr. shopping (myself included when I was still using) and I'd hate for anyone to assume that about you. Common sense I know just wanted to make sure you were aware of the fact.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:43 pm 
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I am NOT a doctor or expert.....just an addict in recovery. I am sharing my expereinces and please consult a professional before you make any decisions!!!!!!.....

6th months on suboxone as of yesterday (6-22-09), but clean 6 months as of the 20th (6-20-09), basically, the last time I used full agonists was 6-19-2009, making me 'clean' the next day, in my eyes. Today is 12-23-09, so just barely 6 months, loving every minute of it!

I do not know where I would be or how things would be if I didn't make that choice 6 months ago. I plan on taking the suboxone for as long as I can, or as long as I feel that I need it. As of now, I do not plan on getting off anytime soon. Maybe that will change, maybe not. But for now I cannot risk it.

I started with the 'closest' dr to me, a pysch. He labled me junkie from the second we spoke (or even before I actually spoke to him and he read my file, who knows). The first day he gave me quick run down, gave week script and said cya in a week. $150 for first visit, and $100 for every one there after. He had me come in once a week for just a week, then every other week for a while....starting at 24mg per day ending up at 16mg per day. He piss tested me every time, no matter what. He also would not budge on his taper plan, I fought and disagreed but it did not work. I even asked if he wanted me to replapse "of course not" he says, he says! He was about 30-ish miles from door to door.

A couple (2-3 or so) months ago I switch doctors. I made an appointment with new doctor, told him I was on suboxone and wanted to continue it with him as my doctor. He had room, so first appoint was $250, month script for 12mg per day, and a decent talk about what was going on. He is a recovering addict, and has been specializing in addiction medicine for about 30 years....I never went back to my other doctor, he probably thinks I am using again, but HAH! to him!!!! The reg. appointment price for new doctor is also $100 per time, but once a month not twice a month..... ALSO, my new doctor wanted me to be on no more than 8 mg per day (WE settled at 12 mg per day), but because he said anything more than 8mg per day is a waste of money (ceiling affect ect). The first doctor prob would gave me 32mg per day if I would have asked. I know my current doctor knows a bit more about bupe so that is a relief! (it is scarey when you know the same amount, or more, about a drug/treatment then the doctor himself!!! like what it felt with my first doctor).

I know everyone is different and some are comfortable at higher doses than others (16mg and up). What works for me doesnt work for all so do what is right for you.

The big difference is, he is like over 125 miles door to door....usually with traffic about 2.5-3 hours each way. Tolls, bridges, ect ect....from pa to nj. BUT...I will and have been making this trip every month with a smile and will continue to.

You should do some research with doctors before you do switch and as matt said, do not let them think you are dr. shopping. Maybe what I did was not the correct approach to switch doctors, but it worked and here I am. Do what you need to do but don't break the law dude! The others above me had really good things to say, make your choice wisely. Good luck man, take care

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"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." ---Salvador Dali


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:30 pm 
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BigRed wrote:
I am NOT a doctor or expert.....just an addict in recovery. I am sharing my expereinces and please consult a professional before you make any decisions!!!!!!.....

6th months on suboxone as of yesterday (6-22-09), but clean 6 months as of the 20th (6-20-09), basically, the last time I used full agonists was 6-19-2009, making me 'clean' the next day, in my eyes. Today is 12-23-09, so just barely 6 months, loving every minute of it!

I do not know where I would be or how things would be if I didn't make that choice 6 months ago. I plan on taking the suboxone for as long as I can, or as long as I feel that I need it. As of now, I do not plan on getting off anytime soon. Maybe that will change, maybe not. But for now I cannot risk it.

I started with the 'closest' dr to me, a pysch. He labled me junkie from the second we spoke (or even before I actually spoke to him and he read my file, who knows). The first day he gave me quick run down, gave week script and said cya in a week. $150 for first visit, and $100 for every one there after. He had me come in once a week for just a week, then every other week for a while....starting at 24mg per day ending up at 16mg per day. He piss tested me every time, no matter what. He also would not budge on his taper plan, I fought and disagreed but it did not work. I even asked if he wanted me to replapse "of course not" he says, he says! He was about 30-ish miles from door to door.

A couple (2-3 or so) months ago I switch doctors. I made an appointment with new doctor, told him I was on suboxone and wanted to continue it with him as my doctor. He had room, so first appoint was $250, month script for 12mg per day, and a decent talk about what was going on. He is a recovering addict, and has been specializing in addiction medicine for about 30 years....I never went back to my other doctor, he probably thinks I am using again, but HAH! to him!!!! The reg. appointment price for new doctor is also $100 per time, but once a month not twice a month..... ALSO, my new doctor wanted me to be on no more than 8 mg per day (WE settled at 12 mg per day), but because he said anything more than 8mg per day is a waste of money (ceiling affect ect). The first doctor prob would gave me 32mg per day if I would have asked. I know my current doctor knows a bit more about bupe so that is a relief! (it is scarey when you know the same amount, or more, about a drug/treatment then the doctor himself!!! like what it felt with my first doctor).

I know everyone is different and some are comfortable at higher doses than others (16mg and up). What works for me doesnt work for all so do what is right for you.

The big difference is, he is like over 125 miles door to door....usually with traffic about 2.5-3 hours each way. Tolls, bridges, ect ect....from pa to nj. BUT...I will and have been making this trip every month with a smile and will continue to.

You should do some research with doctors before you do switch and as matt said, do not let them think you are dr. shopping. Maybe what I did was not the correct approach to switch doctors, but it worked and here I am. Do what you need to do but don't break the law dude! The others above me had really good things to say, make your choice wisely. Good luck man, take care




Dude thats what i wish I had so bad, I want a doctor who used to be an addict so when Im talking about something they understand what Im saying and can relate. I swear with the doctor I have now, I feel like I'm constantly being judged, I feel like he thinks every word out of my mouth is a lie, and that he's just evaluating what Im saying in search of contradictions because he'll re-ask a question a number of times and squint his eyes in analysis. This just isn't in my head either, I believe my doctor to be very judgmental and opinionated and Im just sick of it. Im even starting to dread having to see my doctor and just glad when Im done, and it shouldn't be like that. A person can tell by mannerisms, speech, and body language, usually what someone is about. And I think this guy just pre labels every patient piece of shit. The same thought as you had "do you want me to relapse" has went through my head as well. Right now my family is together in queens, and because my doctor couldn't accommodate me for the time I was going to be away, I have to stay behind until Im able to get my prescription because Ill run out if I join my family. The reasoning he said was because my counselor complained that I rescheduled an appt. So when I went to see my doctor he said he wont write my script until I see my counselor first. The reason I rescheduled was because New York Just had a snow storm, my appt. was during the storm, so I had to reschedule, it would have been impossible to make it, and because I did so Im being punished for it. I was fine with paying the $50 fee for rescheduling within 24 hours of appt. but this is ridiculous. This isn't the first time this has happened either. This happened once before. But because this is happening now through the holidays when my family is away its just the last straw for me. The reason people go on to suboxone is so they can live their lives, work, go to school , and attend family functions, and the way he's using it against me is no better then if I was on drugs. Ive been sticking it out with him for a year but the way he just dismisses me and what I say just infuriates me to no end.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:18 am 
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You really nailed it when you said "squint his eyes at you" and a few other things, it sounds like my first doctor was exactly like your current. IT SUCKS! You wanted to get clean, took the steps, and now have to deal with the bs from them? I would for sure try to find another doctor. Just make sure its the right choice first! You dont want to be with out a doctor. But you shouldn't have to go through this for your subs, or any thing for that matter!

What I always found funny, is how I never had a comment, weird look, or a blink of an eye when I would come in for my neurologist appoint, w/d from no pain meds, saying that I think a dose increase would be good. Then at the pharmacy, no problems every filling, no weird looks there.
Well, first sub doctor as I said was near me, him and his secrateries were all rude and very judgemental. I went to different pharmacy for subs then I did for oxys and stuff. The ladies there all treated me like a drug addict (Sub pharmacy ladies, not oxys), asking if I wanted the whole script at once, saying they are addictive, making sure I could afford the whole script, etc, etc... My current doctor, every one is so nice. The pharmacy guy is very professional and knows me well now and we get along, never questioned my meds I was filling, acted like they were blood pressure meds or something. Just a note.

Act of nature, is well, an act of nature. Didnt you guys get like a foot or more, blizzard conditions? I am in North East PA, and I actually revolve around snow for a living (amongst other things of course!, but snow=$ for me). During the snow season, I am totally involved with following the weather for around here to try to plan accordingly. Your doctor needs to realize that for some people, when it snows, they dont have a choice but to change their day because they cant even drive in it. Sometimes not. Me, well, if we get 2 feet of snow (or whatever), I am out in it....the amount means to me when I do go out and how long am I going to have to be out for. But most people, are planning for the day(s) they will be inside, cancelling appointments, changing entire schedules, stocking up on food etc, etc....plus they simply do not have the means to travel in weather like that. Living in your area, your dr has to realize that some will be stranded because of the snow. Thats just another reason why you should try to find another dr.

As for being the holiday's and you having to wait a few days before you actually meet up with family......well, it is defintely better than using and chancing not seeing ANYONE at all, or OD-ing and nobody seeing you ever again, and you never see them again. I am sure it was a hard decision(get sub now + see family later or get sub later + who knows what), but at least you know you will be around to make more!! Just to make a note, my dr's secretary made sure that I had subs and the next appointment wasn't going to be a close one with the subs cause of holiday's or just frankly run out. She even offered to make an earlier appointment, but no need thankfully!

I used to think that I had to put up with such behavior like you have been forced to do for quite some time now, but after reading this forum and this forum only (most others are JOKES in my opinion in respect to suboxone, buncha brats [or 'jerks', not necassarily 'brats'] spreading mis-imformation and other non-sense...but who am I to say...). I have come to decide that I should not have to put up with SOME (its defintely not all of 'em, many drs are awesome!) of those doctors that are total wastes and treat me like shit! I do know that me personally I feel more comfortable with my new doctor (well for many reasons) being a recovering addict. He can relate and doesn't judge, thats what I want and many others want that too but not everyone is so lucky.

I say keep on looking, dont give up, and dont let the dr you are with now get you down. Just google find suboxone doctor, in your area....or naabt.org, or suboxone.com have doctor locators and match up systems. I tried the closest doctor to me when I used suboxone.com's locator but struck out. Do more research, just don't choose the first one you find, or closest. This is not to say that the closest and first doctor for some will be horrible, they may be fine. But it took me some searching, out of my area, to find what I need.

All based on my experiences and opinoins......of an addict not an expert. Good luck and hang in there.....keep us posted!!!!

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"The past is finished. There is nothing to be gained by going over it. Whatever it gave us in the experiences it brought us was something we had to know."----Rebecca Beard

"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." ---Salvador Dali


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:47 am 
Dang BigRed, I love you!!! We must have been siblings or something in another life!!! By the way, I have stolen your Rebecca Beard quote and it is now my motto for life!! hope ya don't mind!! lol!!
I totally agree with everything you've just said. That's bullcrap being treated poorly by the doctor you're paying to treat you! Nobody should put up with it unless it's their absolutely only way to stay on Suboxone. Like yours, my doctor is an addict in recovery and was on Suboxone for years, only recently weaning off. He's super cool, writes me for 3 Subs a day even though I really never took more than 1-2/day which has enabled me to stock up some. He lets me 'cheat' just a little on my monthly visits stretching them to 5 weeks instead of right on the date of the one-month. He knows I'm paying cash for all this. He seems to respect me and in turn I have nothing but respect for him.
As you said, where were the damn furrowed eyebrows and questions and attitude when we were getting and filling all the scripts for opiates? Makes no sense!! Of course, they'll start questioning us after our addiction has taken such a foothold that we're doctor shopping, falsifying scripts and crap like that! But not until then! Anyone with any knowledge about addiction knows that's what we do - we lie, we cheat, we steal, we manipulate. I get all that. But dang - when we've decided to get help, spend all the time and money and effort to get on Suboxone; suffer the humiliation of basically admitting to the world we're addicted, we're trying to change for God's sake. Give us a chance and give us a break! To me, once you've been with your doc a few months, no relapses, nothing funny going on, there should be at least a little bit of trust being built.
Scott I hope you find a new doctor. Take your time. Make some phone calls. Here's what I did: I called the number on the doctor referral thing on the Suboxone website. I told whoever answered the phone that I was interested in getting information on their Suboxone program and asked if I could please speak to the nurse or medical assistant who assisted the Suboxone doctor. I left my name and number so that individual could call me back. Well, when that phone call came, I knew this was where I needed to go. I talked to the assistant (think he's actually an EMT), he told me all about the doctor, what the visits would be like, costs and so forth. They even have a particular pharmacy they send their patients to (you don't HAVE to go there of course) that knows them and treats all us Sub patients very well. It's pretty awesome. This is how it should be. So keep looking Scott. You deserve better.
As to the original question - I've been on Sub almost six months I started July 9, last Lortab July 8. So not too far behind BigRed. Nobody's pressuring me to get off. I have tapered myself without any significant difficulty down to 3mg/day by my choice. How long I'll be on them - don't know. I know I've gained so much ground in my recovery over the last six months. I had tried 10 months in recovery with IOP, aftercare, 12 step meetings, etc and fell on my face prior to starting Subs. So I'll stay on them as long as necessary. It's just my desire to be on as small a dose as possible for maintenance and go from there. My dream would be to be ready to come off at the one year mark, but that's a loose goal. And if it comes to staying on Subs vs. bad cravings/relapse - Suboxone it is!!
Okay, once again I've gone overboard with my response!
Love you guys. This really is the best forum ever!


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 Post subject: response to setmefree
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:21 pm 
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hello, When I read your post I read a line that made me think of something "suffer the humiliation of basically admitting to the world we're addicted". I have a question. By getting a subscription to suboxone, who is able to see that information? employment background check? Im just trying to figure out how much this can come back to haunt me in the future?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:18 pm 
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Scott,

I work in the medical business and insurance information is very guarded. Yes it's there and if you ran for president someday it could come out but your employer doesn't get a printout of your medical records or antying. It's available to future docs and future insurers. I woulnd't worry a single bit about it. I'm in a fairly high profile position in the medical business and it is not a worry at all for me that I'm on sub. Hope that helps.

D


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:10 pm 
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It makes me so angry to read all of these stories about doctors treating their patients like crap.

The way I look at it, we are trying to heal from our addictions and our relationships with our healthcare providers is an important factor in that healing. If you feel like your doctor thinks you are a low-down, lying piece of trash then that is not conducive to becoming a whole and healthy person. That kind of attitude also discourages many people from seeking help, so I hope those judgemental douchebags realize that they own a lot of responibility for the continued pain and suffering of the people they're supposed to be helping.

I guess I lucked out with my doctors. My first experience with Sub was during a clinical trial at the VA in Seattle. The doctor there is the guy who trains all the other Sub docs in the area, so he knew what he was doing and was never anything but respectful and helpful. When I had to leave the study, I found another doctor who took my insurance and my first doc called him and got it all set up for me (I guess they knew each other). I stayed with that doctor and am still with him even though I'm done with Sub because he prescribes my antidepressants.

I was on Sub for 22 months total, from 10/07 to 8/09. My doctor never pressured me to taper off, but my insurance only covered me for a limited time. He said I could continue on the Sub if I wanted to pay for it myself, but that he thought I was a good canidate for tapering. Ultimately it was up to me to decide when to stop. I've been off of Sub for almost 5 months now and I'm doing well.

If your doctor doesn't treat you right or wants to pressure you off of Suboxone sooner than you want, then please look into a new doctor. A big factor in my getting off Sub successfully was the fact that I was in control and I felt ready. My doctor was also understanding of the tapering and withdrawal process and was helpful with support medications to get me through the acute phase of withdrawal. We all deserve good care and support in our fight with addiction. Don't let the stigma or shame convince you otherwise.

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