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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Before I decided to work with a Suboxone doctor, I did a lot of research on Suboxone and it helped me decide that using it will be better for me than abusing opiates.

But there are differing opinion on the length of time a patient should stay on Suboxone. My doctor believes that one needs to take Suboxone long-term, and possibly for my entire life! He said tapering after 4 months of treatment is not recommended by him and he said I will likely need to be on it for at least 2 years.

I have several problems with this:

1. I do not want to be on suboxone for life or even 2 years.

2. Is the DEA ever going to loosen up the crazy amount of control over this drug? My doctor today said the DEA wants to stop the program and doctors are trying to prove that it is helping addicts. Does the DEA realize one cannot get high off this drug and that it is no worse off than an antidepressant? There are no euphoric qualities to suboxone, and honestly, some times the drug can be annoying with the hazy feeling and tiredness I am always dealing with. Why is it SO HARD to find a doctor who prescribes this and why is it SO HARD to get it?

3. My doctor has told me that he can stop treating me at any time and he doesn't need a reason to stop treating me (a situation recently happened that really highlighted this concern)

4. So few doctors prescribe this, what if I move and cannot find a new doctor?

The final two questions all lead to a very scary result, which is withdrawal.

It really appears to me that many doctors who are prescribing this medicine do not really know enough about it or have much background on mental health and drug abuse. So many different opinions are out there that it makes you wonder who is right.

I wasn't a massive addict; I was just heading toward that. I used maybe 30 mg of Roxy every other day or so and I have used as much as 90 mg. When I started H late in the game, that's when all hell broke loose. I was using for about a year.

I belief that soon I will be strong enough to stop suboxone and taper off. But my doctor is telling me that this will almost certainly result in me relapsing because after a month or two my brain will be acting up and the desire for opiates will be very strong. I was really surprised by this.

By telling me that he can choose to stop treating me for any reason has really made me paranoid and confused. No other doctor near me has space. I've lost trust and I have a pack of 30 left that I want to taper off and see if I can remain sober, despite the warnings.

I must stress, I did have a dirty urine test last month, and I told him I would. I slipped on New Year's Eve with the white snow stuff and 5 minutes after realizing that i just broke my sober streak, it ruined my night and I went home in deep depression over how stupid I was to do that. Quitting cold turkey on every narcotic you've abused in a lifetime is not easy to do and I wish there was a little leeway in the program to help an addict get through this while staying on Suboxone. I have not touched opiates since I started the program, and I would naturally think that testing for opiates would be the chief concern of any doctor or DEA.

I do want to be 100 percent sober, but there is noway I was able to do this over night once I got on Suboxone, and although I am in therapy to stop, I am very close to getting the boot because, although it is rare, I am having a difficult time with staying away from everything, including the green plant. It seems unfortunate that there is a requirement to refrain from all drugs when I came there to stop opiates because it was the major problem in my life and I was heading toward death or real danger.
Although I am having a hard time stopping everything 100 percent, I do not have anywhere near the addiction or desire for anything else like I did for opiates. Slowly and surely, I am realizing that I want a sober life, 100 percent sober, but doing that is a different story.

The rules are just too strict because there are so many other elements that aren't being considered. Maybe I just need a new substance abuse therapist. Who the heck knows.


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 Post subject: Hmmm...
PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:27 pm 
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I appreciate your honesty, especially about what you are still using. Please don't be offended, but when you consider that you're having a hard time staying sober in between appointments, do you really think you are ready to handle getting off Suboxone? I can absolutely see where you are coming from, but I think fear of getting dropped is not a good reason to taper off Sub. If I were you, I'd work a lot harder on my overall sobriety, meaning my sobriety aside from the Suboxone. A better addiction counselor is a great place to start; avoiding situations where people are using and you will be tempted is another good idea. As I'm sure you are aware, it's quite easy and common for people to switch addictions. You have to figure out why you want to escape by using, whether it be weed or coke or opiates or whatever. You have to start dealing with situations, the good and the bad ones, without any chemicals to buffer them and make it easier. Once you can live your life comfortably without the other stuff, maybe then you could consider getting off Suboxone. I just wouldn't focus on it right now. Do you think your doctor would be receptive at all if you were open about your fears of getting dropped and your struggle to stay off the other stuff? Sometimes, honesty is really the best policy (though I know, it's not always that way). Maybe you could ask him what else he thinks may help you stay clean in between visits...at least, if you asked for his advice, he'd see that you are serious and worried about your sobriety.

I'm not sure about the DEA stuff and all that. I don't know where to even look it up. I haven't heard that the DEA is considering yanking the whole program. Did your doctor tell you that? That's....um...a little scary. I just hope it's not true, and honestly, I've never heard anything about that possibility. I agree with you that there are a lot of doctors that just do not know much about the drug they are prescribing. My advice to you is to realize that it's not about getting through your urine test and not getting dropped. It's about YOUR LIFE. It's about you learning to live in a healthy way and feeling that you deserve that. You DO deserve it, you know. And it's such a better way to be. I promise. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:03 pm 
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I just want to step in quickly to say that the DEA does not have the power to stop the Suboxone program. Suboxone use is a function of law. The only people who can change Federal law are legislators. Now, certainly the FDA and/or the DEA could put the wheels in motion to get legislation introduced to make changes but absent legislation, all that the DEA could really do is change their rules that govern the drug. Even that requires public hearings and comment and the legislature could again step in. Most certainly, if they have not put a stop to methadone clinics, they are not about to put a stop to Suboxone. I have no idea why a physician would say something like this - if it was said. I just don't want readers to become alarmed as there is absolutely nothing to worry about at this time. And as fast [NOT] as legislation and the government moves, it would take a long time to make changes to this program. As for stopping it??? What on earth would the hundreds of thousands of Suboxone patients do? It's just not going to happen - or at the very least, nothing would happen without warning and without any speed. There really is no cause for concern or alarm.


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 Post subject: Take Your Time
PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:49 pm 
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Pinkfloydan,

One of the reasons doctors tell us to stay on it for a year or two is to change the addictive behavior so that when we do taper and stop we aren't still thinking about the next high or dealing with cravings.

I feel the same way as you concerning this drug, but it is a good way to slowly deal with our addiction and start living a clean and sober life. I've been on it since last May and felt the same as you in the beginning. Just relax, don't obsess over it, and after a few months you might just be able to come up with a sound plan for tapering. Sound about right?

So chill my addict friend and let the Bupe do its job. You can conquer that mountain later. Just focus on changing your life style and build a decent recovery program.


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 Post subject: What doctor said
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:36 am 
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My doctor did say that the DEA doesn't want this program and "they are thinking about ending it." He then said "and we are trying to tell them that this treatment is working and helping a lot of people."

I'd like to vent about a recent dilemma I had with the doc and the program and rules but I am not sure where the right section is to do this. I do not like how so few doctors can or do prescribe this. It makes it very hard to move on if you lose faith or trust in your own sub doc. Why is it that way?

Suboxone really works. Since on it, I have not touched opiates and I have no desire for them. And I am very happy that I got on this before I hit rock bottom because I have a great job and my quality of life is at its best ever.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:59 am 
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Dr. Junig also believes in long-term maintenance with bupe. Opiate addiction is a deadly medical disease which has a terribly high relapse and fatality rate. It is for this reason that many people believe in long term maintenance - most especially for people under 30. If you had diabetes would you still want to be on it only temporarily? It's just a pill - we can take it once a day and forget about it. That's how I see my treatment - it's just another medication I take.

When it comes to fearing withdrawals if we have to suddenly stop bupe treatment, well, many of us try to build up a back up supply. You can always start looking for a new doctor now. There are 4 online sub doc locators that you could check out. (naabt.org; suboxone-directory.com; suboxone.com; and samhsa.gov). It might be good to have an idea of what other options you will have should the situation reach that point.

Good luck to you and welcome to the forum!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:45 pm 
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eagles....I agree with others have said and I do want to add, altho I think Hatmaker alluded to it, that it might be worth getting on the waiting list of some other docs in your area....I say that because 1.) your dr basically threatened you by saying what he did and find that appalling and 2.) if you don't trust your doctor it is going to interfere with anything positive he might have to offer you for recovery besides Sub....
As laddertipper suggested a good counselor would be a place to start too and would add so much to your recovery. Finding one who really understands addiction.
Not all sub doctors are psyciatrists or really understand addiction. They have to jump through some hoops in order to be able to prescribe Sub and many doctors don't want to treat us "addicts". I heard from a friend who said his PCP wanted to start prescribing sub but his partners in the clinic said "OH NO, we don't want junkies sitting in our waiting room". Wow. Nice.
i'd have a really hard time seeing a dr who I felt was threatening and not understanding. So maybe if you can find one who is better able to open up a line of communication you could be in a better place with it all.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:56 pm 
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i agree with everyones responses. when i first got on sub i was really eager to get off of it. its the same way when i went into detox, the minute i got there i was asking when i would be discharged. i know its sort of addictive behavior because we all want the quick fix and we dont want to have to do anything for to long because we want to wave a magic wand and have everything be better. basically what i am saying is that i understand your concerns but i htink its important to remember why you are on subs and that you need to focus on recovery and the rest will come. i think your dr is saying that you need to be on this medication for a couple years because most people who stay on sub for less then 6months or a year have a much higher rate of relapse because they dont have time to get the skills necessary to really recover. in regards to using other substances; the reason my dr doesnt allow it is because even if you are smoking weed you are engaging in additive behavior i.e., buying the drug, getting a high off of it and so on and so forth. Even if you arent addicted to weed or coke and you dont want it everyday or even every week it is still an addictive substance that is altering your mind set adn hindering recovery. also i know that if i were still smoking weed i would be hanging out with people who also used other substances thus putting me at risk of using other substances that i wouldnt normally come into contact with. as for your dr basically theatening you with ending treatment at any time for no reason; well that is a little insane. i think its normal for drs to lay ground rules when they first start treating you as a sub patient but threatening someone by pulling the rug out from underneath them for no reason is a little weird. as most of the other posters have stated, i think its a good idea to check out other drs. i know it sounds crazy to say right now but i started sub treatment a year ago and it feels like a couple months. i was so engaged in recovery that the time flew by and now i am starting a taper and i actually feel ready, i look back and realize 8 months ago i would not have been ready to taper. just take this a day at a time right now and it will fly by.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:26 am 
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I have no other doctor to go to. There are three doctors here who can prescribe it and all but my doctor were booked. No one ever said anything about a waiting list when I called. Another doctor just plain out wouldn't even take me into his program, and I do not know why to this day.

I'm in a rough spot with this treatment for sure.

I wasn't complaining about the doctor wanting me to stay clean from all drugs; I was complaining about his paranoia when I had a dirty urine. I am new to the program and haven't touched opiates since I started. It is going to take some more therapy to quit everything and make such a huge life change that includes ditching people whom I hung out with regularly. I am almost there, but I would think anyone who prescribes this drug would realize they are dealing with drug addicts so there needs to be some leeway for the patient to make these huge changes. After 3 months, I can see the light and hope the urine stays clean.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:58 am 
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eagleslanding,

I understand that your having a difficult time in your recovery right now, especially since this (sub thearapy) is so new for you. But, I must say that I feel like you need to decide what is MORE important in your life... Hanging out with the same addicts, occasionally using weed, cocaine, and xanex.....OR truly turning your life around.

You said-
I wasn't complaining about the doctor wanting me to stay clean from all drugs; I was complaining about his paranoia when I had a dirty urine. I am new to the program and haven't touched opiates since I started. It is going to take some more therapy to quit everything and make such a huge life change that includes ditching people whom I hung out with regularly. I am almost there, but I would think anyone who prescribes this drug would realize they are dealing with drug addicts so there needs to be some leeway for the patient to make these huge changes. After 3 months, I can see the light and hope the urine stays clean

IMO, you should strive for MAKING SURE your UA's are clean, not simply "hoping they are". Suboxone/Subutex is a godsend for us addicts to recover/live a normal life w/out the ballNchain of active addiction. THIS IS A DEADLY DISEASE WE HAVE it's not to be taken lightly. Discuss your worries/fears w/Ur Doc. If you find that he dosen't have time to give you this type of attention, you should find some outside help. We all need someone to support us in what we're going thru. Please don't get angry, but I feel like Ur Doc has been pretty understanding thus far. It's really dangerous to mix Sub w/other narcotics. You'r doctor has a huge responsibility to keep you safe. Thus, requiring you to abstain from other substances. That, along w/the fact that there is such a tight leash on Sub, makes it difficult for doctors to give alotta leeway when it comes to violating pt. rules. Please understand, that while Im sure kicking you out of the program is the LAST thing Ur Doc wants to do, Ur putting him(and more importantly Urself), in a sticky situation. Your doctor is faced w/the deciscion of continuing to prescribe to someone who could hurt or even kill himself by combining sub w/other substances, and possibly losing his liscence. OR, cutting you loose to keep his practice open for other addicts in need. Look, no-one changes overnight, but you must realize that you ARE in fact an ADDICT and how easy it can be for us to switch addictions. Please take the time to decide if it's RECOVERY you truly desire. I understand how difficult it is to completely change everything in Ur life, practically overnight. But, if it is recovery you want, you must be willing to make sacrifices and do WHATEVER it takes to heal yourself. Your Sub doc is only a small part of this process. You've gotta be ALOT more responsible in this battle. Lastly, I hope you don't take offense to my post. I care about you and everyone else on this forum. This site has played a huge role in my recovery. It's a great place to get opinions, advise, and support. Please think about what I've said, and continue to keep us in the loop on how your doing.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:06 am 
(very nice post Marie....good stuff there)

Hi Eagle and welcome. You've gotten some real good replies already, not just from Marie, but everyone else as well.
I've got to tell you....I'm worried about you. You sound like you've got a pretty good head on your shoulders, you really do. But I'm sensing sort of an "on the fence" stance about whether or not you really want to be free (in recovery) or whether you just want to do more of a damage-control type thing. I'm not judging....not in the slightest! I have been on that fence plenty myself! And please understand....if it's a choice of doing nothing versus just doing damage control or harm reduction for yourself....definitely starting with harm reduction is better than doing nothing at all!
I'm actually not going to make this long (as I tend to do often.) I think everyone has already said it as well or better than I can. There are a multitude of reasons why I'd love to see you get real serious about this and get free from all of the substance abuse in your life, but that's got to start with your wanting to. In the meantime, please don't try to get off the Suboxone. It really does take a long time for most of us to get to the place of being able to stop it successfully.
If there's anything I can do to help feel free to PM me or just keep replying here. Certainly, stick around this forum. It's been a real help to a lot of people, myself included!


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