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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 10:39 am 
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Hello!!

Hope everybody is having a great day.

So, to give a brief history, I've been on Suboxone for 6.5 years. I have made three attempts to quit years ago and looking back, it was too early and I was trying to quit at bad times (ie while taking the last classes before completing a degree, trying after foot surgery not realizing how important being able to exercise was while doing this and just flat out not being ready).

I've posted on here before, years ago under the name Lilith and see some of the same names on here of people who were routing me on the last time I tried to quit (hi everybody!!! I'm glad to see some familiar names, you guys helped me so much when I tried doing this before, thank you!!!) I didn't post in a long time and couldn't find my password. After messing with it for a while and not finding it, I decided to create a new profile.

I'm from CT originally and moved to VT in 2007. I knew I was going to die if I kept living in CT and repeating the same cycle. After seeing a psychiatrist initially, I was able to see a primary care physician in the town I live in and have been with that office ever since. A couple of years ago, my doctor went to a different practice so I was switched to another primary care doctor in the same office. Both doctor's have been outstanding overall and I'm very grateful to be a patient in their practice. Being in rural VT, options are fairly limited as far as Suboxone treatment goes and all doctors in this area are at their maximum limit for Suboxone patients. Most aren't even adding names to their wait lists because they are so long. I'm very grateful I got in when I did.

This whole time, I've been seeing the doctor usually once a month, sometimes once every two weeks and occasionally appointments have been spaced out longer than a month when I tried living in FL and PA. Now I'm back in the same town I was in when I first moved to VT. I've given random drug tests whenever asked (random meaning when I went in for my appointment, I may or may have to give a drug test, I leave my purse outside of the bathroom and can't flush the toilet or wash my hands until I've given them the sample). I've always been compliant and my doctor knows getting off Suboxone has been a goal of mine for a long time. My current dose is 4mg. I've been as high as 24mg and have gone up and down on dosage, most of the time it's been somewhere between 8-4mg. I've been at 4mg for a good six months now.

The last appointment I had with the doctor was last week. Due to the federal and state crack down on prescription drugs, the insane increase of heroin use in this country and state in particular and lawyers suing doctors who have put patients on Suboxone to help taper off Codeine or other lower grade opiate (who should never have been put on Suboxone in the first place), then got addicted to Suboxone, this office has changed the requirements to their program to protect themselves and more closely monitor Suboxone patients. I completely understand their reasons for doing this.

He told me all Suboxone patients there, myself included, are now given a color. Every weekday we need to call a phone number and if our color is called, we must call the doctor's office, schedule and take a monitored drug test before the end of that day (it must be done at that office, no where else is allowed). Before leaving my appointment last week, I had my first monitored drug test, with someone in the room with me watching me pee. My pants and underwear must be below my knees and I must keep my hands straight out in front of me while peeing. It felt really humiliating. So does calling a number each day and revolving each day around the possibility of needing to go to this office for a monitored drug test. I have nothing to hide and have never tried to cheat a drug test. All of the past drug test results prove that (that I had the right drugs and amounts in my system, nothing else was there that shouldn't be). In the past few months, I've gotten off three of the five prescription medications I've been on- an ADHD drug, an anti-depressant and a beta blocker that was prescribed for the physical symptoms of anxiety. I did this on my own, one at a time, tapering off each. These three were the first to go, Suboxone is next and I take a low dose of Clonopin for anxiety, which will be the last. Being off three of the five meds, I feel so much better. I'm happier, have more energy and can think clearer.

I have no interest in getting involved with this new monitoring system. All three of the previous attempts I made were very closely monitored by my doctor. I've found sometimes I do much better tapering and stopping drugs on my own, in my way and time (as I did with the three meds the past few months). I wrote my doctor a letter asking him to please terminate me from the Suboxone program effective immediately and to please give my slot to someone who has been trying to get into the program for a long time (I haven't given it to him yet because I wanted to think about this more over the weekend). I haven't been stockpiling meds, but have enough to do a fairly slow taper. There are also other methods I've been looking into, one that is of the most interest is illegal in this country so I'm not going to discuss it here.

Some of the hardest things of ongoing Suboxone treatment are feeling tied to a doctor's office, feeling tied to a drug that I know is causing other issues including affecting my mood and needing to make life decisions with Suboxone treatment and cost always being key factors. That has caused an immense amount of anxiety at different periods, especially when I've tried moving to other states. Another thing that has bothered me a lot is there being no difference in how Suboxone patients are treated whether it's their first month or sixth year.

If I was first coming into treatment and these were the requirements, okay, I'd do whatever is asked of me to remain compliant and stay in the program. It's not, I'm so tired of this as it was, never mind the new requirements. I'm looking at this as the final push I needed to get off this drug and stop waffling about how and when I'm going to do it. I believe doing this on my own may be the best way for me personally at this point in time.

One of the issues in previous attempts to quit is knowing I can always go back to that office and say I'm not ready yet in a weak moment (and that's exactly what I did all three times). If I no longer have a slot there, then that possibility is eliminated and increases my motivation. Also, knowing my slot is going to someone who has been trying to get treatment for a long time gives me more motivation.

What would you do if you were in this situation? I can feel in my gut this is the right thing, but still this is a big step and I'd other people's feedback.

Thanks so much! Enjoy this beautiful day!! :D

Sage


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 3:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:06 pm
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Wow that color system thing sounds crazy!!!! So you have to call and check EVERY day?? That's crazy enough, but how often does your color come up? Wow. I'd say that is a lot of motivation to get off subs! What happens if you don't go on a day you're supposed to? I understand completely what you're feeling about being treated the same as someone who just started. There's no way I could pee with someone watching, let alone all the other things! Is there any way you can find a different doctor to go to? Maybe give it a little more time before making that decision. Maybe continue to stockpile a little more while you search for another doctor, and in the mean time taper down to see how you feel. Good luck with whatever you decide!!! I could almost understand if you had a random test done once a month where they call that day and have you come in at some time, but their way sounds nuts!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:35 pm
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Hi Emmy,

Thank you for reading my post. So from what the doctor told me, they set it up so newer patients have their color called more frequently. He told me the color I have is the color that would be called the least frequent. Still, no thanks. It's every weekday that I would have to call. Saturday and Sunday are off.

What scares me with the requirements getting stricter and stricter is it's going to backfire and some people are going to get sick of it so quick, get off of it too soon, relapse and possibly die of an overdose. The ones that don't overdose, may just stay on their drug of choice, knowing they'd have to go through that whole process again if they want to quit and get back on Suboxone.

I was so tired of being tied to this office to begin with. It's really not this office in particular, it's just being tied to any office and feeling like I can't fully close that chapter in my life while being on Suboxone. I also want to see how different I feel being off of it. I do think it affects my moods and makes everything feel like- meh, take it or leave it, do it or don't do it, whatever.

I'm sure if I really tried, I'd be able to find another office somewhere. I don't have the motivation for it. I really don't. Any more energy expended on this will be spent on how I'm going to get off of it.

So I reread and changed the letter a little bit, printed it out and put it in a sealed envelope. I went to the office on Monday, cancelled my future appointments and gave the receptionist the envelope to give to my doctor asking him to terminate me from the Suboxone program. Even though I'm still on the drug, it was such a freeing feeling to do that. I'll figure out what I'm going to do and start a thread in the stopping Suboxone forum when I decide.

Thanks. Have a good day. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:46 pm 
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It seems pretty unreasonable to me, especially if you have a long or fairly long history of being compliant with the rules you are to follow in order to receive your meds. The peeing in the presence of another person, be it same sex or otherwise sounds not only humiliating, but possibly a violation of your human rights. Perhaps someone here will be able to give you a more in depth answer. I can't believe that would be allowed to happen. I am pretty sure it would not be permitted in Canada. I know when people go in for testing the toilet is all taped up, so are the sinks ,taps, garbage bins and anything else that could be used to fool the test. IMO, they were out of line and violated your right to privacy and who's to say that while in that room they did not do anything inappropriate or which could be seen as sexual misconduct. I cannot imagine having to sit on a toilet and pee in front of anyone, it sounds as though they used your need for your meds as the carrot to force you to disrobe, at least to the knees and urinate in front of them. It seems unconstitutional and like sexual harassment. Who's to say if you are female that the person watching you is not a lesbian and if you are male, a homosexual. I am not sure what you can do if you are in the states, but I know there is recourse you could take in Canada.
I am sorry you had to go through such humiliating experiences in order to receive medication which you have stated you take properly and as prescribed. They are out of line and I would make a complaint to both their employer and to the government about that sort of discriminatory treatment.
Good luck to you,

Viv


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:12 pm 
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This is a very old thread. The chances of this person still being here are slim Always check the dates before posting a reply.
Here in the States there are clinic rules. Its part of the treatment to receive this medication. Weekly visits,weekly UAs,weekly scripts at the begining or louger.
Ive never heard of a clinic were professionals were looking to embarrass someone on a UA or worse use there power to harass an addict sexually.
Never read anyone here at the forum discuss such a thing. Ever.
Addicts have rights, but also must adhere to the Drs and clinic rules. Period. .Id patients break these rules then something like an observation ua can happen. Trust must be built. Some personalities can clash. But thats life in general. .


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:30 pm 
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Maybe the difference in expectations has a lot to do with the differences between the U.S. and Canada. I have a friend that had a DUI and because one UA showed that she was diluting (even though she wasn't trying to), she had to pee in front of a someone who worked there from then on. Do you know that if a US citizen has a DUI on their record Canada will not allow that person to cross the border for 10 years?

Anyway, maybe the whole stereotype about Canadians being super nice extends to their rights as people. But, as Dr. Junig mentions to Viv in a different thread, Canada is not yet taking heroin addiction seriously, or they would have more than one buprenorphine doctor in all of BC!! The reality of opiate addiction is so ugly, and so full of desperate addicts that stringent measures are sometimes necessary. What Viv views as human rights violations are pretty par for the course in the states.

Amy

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

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