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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:08 pm 
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Pardon the cliché, but I really do have a dear friend who's in trouble. The situation is complex (aren't they all?) He's desperate to get off the needle. He's been in rehab, and placed on methadone. That failed. He now thinks vicodin and benzos are the answer. I have grave doubts about this. He's getting them off the street whenever he can, from people with an obvious vested interest in keeping him hooked, although he doesn't seem to see that. His normal suppliers conveniently don't have exactly what he wants, or if they do, they refuse to supply him in anything like a small quantity.

His family life is a train wreck. He never finished school. He's on public assistance. He's constantly on the verge of massive withdrawal to the point of actually considering burglary. The deck is really stacked against him.

On the upside - he can see that this situation is wrong. He wants out. He's not stupid. He's worth saving.

Fortunately, my situation is hugely different from his. I have a great family, loads of great, drug-free friends, a good job, a good education, and a decent life. He sees this too, and has come to me in tears begging for help. I'm literally the only friend he has that is not on drugs, and has never been in jail.

He has no idea how he can escape, and honestly neither do I. I've tried to make some palliative suggestions, but I'm really out of my depth here. For me, it's quite the emotional meat-grinder.

The only good thing about this situation is that he listens to me. He takes my suggestions. I have his ear. If I can just figure out the right direction to steer him in, I feel like there's at least a chance.

So I've done some reading, and buprenorphine seems like a halfway decent option to at least help him get to some semblance of a normal life. I feel like if we can get him stable and able to function in the real world (whatever that is) then I can buy some time to work on helping him into a more functional peer group so he can at least have a leg up.

The question is, where the hell do I begin? Whether you're currently an addict or a friend of one, I sincerely want to know what you would do.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:07 pm 
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Welcome, Xeno,

Your friend is very lucky to have someone who cares so much. Before I go on I must say I'm neither a doctor nor a therapist; just a recovering addict.

Is your friend open to suboxone/bupe treatment? If so, then he certainly sounds like a candidate, but that's just my opinion based on what you've said. The first step must be for him to be willing to stop using and start his recovery. Then it's on to finding a doctor. You can find doctors in your area on a few websites - one is NAABT.com (or org?) and suboxone.com. They "match" patients to doctors. It's how I found my current doc. A doctor can explain things from there, but he must be in mild to moderate withdrawals to start suboxone. Otherwise he'll go into precipitated withdrawals. Make sure he knows that.

Do you think your friend would be willing to come to this website? There's so much great information as well as such supportive people, well, it just can't hurt. It might help him feel that he's not so alone. That he is capable of starting towards recovery. Suboxone is an excellent recovery tool and a great first step. It gives us the time and capacity to start to heal ourselves.

Again, your friend is lucky to have you. Please keep us posted.

Melissa

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:09 pm 
Well, this is definitely a step in the right direction. First thing to do if he is trully ready and willing at all cost too become clean and sober, find a doctor that is qualified to prescribe buprenorphine. Tell the doctor whats going on and he/she will pretty much take it from their. I've been on suboxone(buprenorphine) for 10 months now and i havent had not one single problem since i started. It saved my life!! It will trully give a person their life back. For me, from the very first dose i felt so much better and it was nothing but great progress from their. My relationship with my family was thought too be ruinned forever but now i have the best relationship possible with all of my family. This medication has been the best tool towards recovery that i've ever came across. I've been to rehab after rehab and nothing ever worked. I now wake up everday excited about life. I cant remember the last time i even thought of using drugs. I dont really know much else too say so i'll leave it as is for now. I hope these words are helpful. Goodluck!! :)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:29 pm 
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He's tried suboxone before. He liked the results. He got it off the street, though, and the supply is random and limited. I've seen him when he was on it, and he just seemed *better* overall.

Sadly, he really isn't in a situation where he has net access right now. He gets $800/month in public assistance, and as soon as the check was cut this month, he had spent every dime. This was really the wakeup call for *me* to step up and get more involved. Not in an interfering way - I know better. I see myself more as providing a resource. A non-judgemental confidante who can advise and guide, and maybe buy him lunch now and then. :)

So. He needs to find a doctor. I'll pitch the idea, tell him I'll help him find one, and see how he reacts. He has a grave mistrust of authority figures. Sigh...


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:38 pm 
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It doesn't sound like you think he'll be willing to go see a doctor. I don't think I'm in a good position to say whether he should get them off the street. On one hand, it sounds like he did better on them and you said he liked the results. The start of recovery, even like that, has to count for something, right? But maybe until he gets paid again, THEN he can arrange to see a doctor and get them legitimately?

Perhaps you can find some of the My Story/Introductions, etc., on this forum and print them out so he can read them, at least so he knows he's not the only one going thru this sort of thing.

You really sound like one hell of a person to do all this for your friend. I'll say it again, he's lucky to have you.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Thanks, Hatmaker. Really. It's hard to know if I'm doing the right thing at any given moment. I appreciate the encouragement.

As to the why - I went through my own minor drug issues many years ago when I started college. Nothing remotely as bad as what he, or probably anyone here has been through. It still wasn't pretty, though. Thankfully, I got myself out of it with very little support from anyone. Because of this, I have a certain, admittedly limited, inside perspective, and a lasting, healthy distrust of dealers. I know the kind of help I longed for once and never got. I know the kind of hoops the dealers had me jumping through. Seeing a close friend in that dark place is too much for me to ignore.

I'm honestly not sure how he'll react to the doctor idea. He'll listen to me, as I said. It's not a conversation I can have over the phone, however. I need to look him in the eye. In the near term, I wouldn't care where he got the suboxone as long as it was a steady supply, affordable for him, and he was able to meter the dosage properly. I'd very much prefer that he be under proper medical supervision, obviously. I'm just kinda terrified that at this fragile moment where he seems to be seeing things clearly, he'll drop back into heavy withdrawal and do anything he has to to make it stop.

Anyway, *his* current plan, as I mentioned, is to do his best to stay on street vicodin, and wean himself off of that. I have no idea how he thinks that's going to work when he's flat broke. He's asked if I'll hang on to them for him, and only give him so many at once, since that way he won't even have them in his house to be tempted by. I'm deeply uncomfortable with this, but am willing to charge ahead if it's a viable option.

Regardless, I will stare him down and pitch the doctor idea as soon as possible.

Printing off some relevant threads for him to read is also a great idea. I'll start poking around for good ones this evening. If you have any favorites, feel free to point them out.

Thanks again - you and lifesaver both. This helps.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:53 pm 
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Suboxone is a lot cheaper from a pharmacy than it is on the street which I know first hand. But you have to take it regularly for it to work. I know the new doc I am headed to charges $150 per month. If he is on public assistance then his medicaid (that is what we call it here) should cover the whole script. So if that is the case then it should be cheaper than his active drug habit. If it were me, I would start calling around to doctors and start asking them these questions. See what the overall cost would be. you can go to the suboxone-directory also which seems to have the most doctor options at least for my state.

Good luck!

Cherie


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:09 pm 
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OK - I've checked the directories, and there appear to be precisely three doctors in my town that are prominently listed as prescribing suboxone. They all seem to be listed on other websites as G.P.s or pediatricians. Does that sound right? Are there some ABCs of doctor shopping? Little hints or things I should watch out for?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:41 pm 
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As it seems you have already guessed, the Vicodin "plan" is not much of a plan in the first place. A lot of us have tried something like this and it rarely works. I am also concerned for you with getting involved in something like this. You likely would not have much to worry about if this friend had Vicodin prescribed to him and you held the bottle for him. What I worry about, however, is he is going to get these off the street and give them to you. In that case, you are going to be guilty of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. That is a felony! As you may guess, "I’m just holding them for a friend" is one of the oldest excuses in the book and something that cops hear all of the time. In this case, it would be true. However, they are not going to care. I would really hate to see you get in trouble for this friend and as you well know, "trouble" just seems to find a drug addict, or a drug addict just seems to find trouble, without even trying. I'm not even addressing the fact that this plan is not likely to work - which only makes the entire idea even more so "bad idea". Just the legal ramifications on this alone is enough for you to stay out of the middle of it.

There are just so many hurdles in this case - and sadly in many similar stories. The cost of treatment, the ability to get the patient into treatment, the ability to keep the patient in treatment, the continuing cost of the treatment, the need for steady employment. The deck is just so often stacked against the patient. I do not say these things to discourage you. I just don't want to see you get too deeply involved in something like this. Please don't let saving this guy become your mission in life. Don't let him become your drug of choice. I am not saying that has happened - just that it can. It is so great that you are willing to help and this guy is so lucky -- he has no idea! I just want to encourage you to set appropriate boundaries here. You cannot fix him. And even if you could, he first needs to want to be fixed.

Please just keep these things in mind. This guy is one lucky dude to have you as a friend!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:10 am 
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Whats up Xeno, you came to the right place know you have to get your friend here. You and him need to get together and with the help of all the knowledgeable people on this site gather a game plan. My advice is find all the info. you can about suboxone treatment and introduce it to your friend and see if he thinks it is the right fit for him. If he really wants change and is ready and willing then this is a great opportunity for him and everyone in his life. Well I wish you and your friend the best of luck and if you have any questions you can PM me or talk to anyone on this site, I am sure that you will find them more than helpful.

~Joseph


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:21 am 
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Thanks, guys.

donh - yeah, I know all that but thanks for saying it just the same. Hearing it reaffirmed still helps. I know the risks to myself with the vicodin idea. I know it's not viable in the long term, maybe even in the short term. I've also thought hard about the broader situation, and I'm no crusader. It's just that I gave my word that I'd stick by him, and I will. I will remain his only "sober" friend regardless of my degree of involvement, whether I'm directly involved or not. If that means I can help light the path for him, and he follows it - great. If that means that I see a lot less of him, and occasionally wind up sitting in some smoky hell-hole watching him shoot up, well, I'll wish things were different, but I'll do that too.

One bright spot in all this is that he's never tried to take advantage of me. I'd see right through it if he did. In fact, I've caught him in a couple of (minor) lies, called him out, forgave him, and moved on. But he's never tried to play me into helping him get a fix. We definitely have boundaries established.

Ultimately, I have the inner resources to pull back if this whole thing crashes and burns. I'm sure it'll feel like *I'm* the one who's dopesick, but I constantly remind myself that there may come a day when I'll be forced to let go out of self-preservation. I dread it, but I'm ready for it.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:39 am 
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Hey There:

Welcome to the forum. I'm pretty new here myself, but not new at all to drug addiction and recovery. If you are interested, you can read my introduction here.

Now then, the first thing I think is important for you to understand is the fact that you cannot force, entice, cajole, manipulate, convince, bargain, plead, or otherwise push an addict into recovery. The addict themselves must have a very strong desire to stop using. The key to recovering from addiction is the admission that you are powerless over it. The entire recovery process begins there, and only there. Anything else will be temporary at best.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:32 am 
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Hi Xeno and WELCOME!

You asked a question about gp's and suboxone. I go to a GP, and they are fine. You do not have to go to a specialist. My GP is more cost effective, and you can ask if they take medicare, or whatever assistance he is on.

I 100% agree with donh's thoughts and your reply. Be careful.

STILL... if you are going to invest yourself, you want the best. Since you have not been on suboxone, I think you should ensure your friend is in the right spot. Here are some leading questions you might ask him.

1- Are you ready to just feel normal? not high, not escape?
2- Are you ready to find support with a group, forums, and maybe counseling?
3- If you get into a treatment program are you ready to end your relationship with dealers and others that can drag you down?
4- If we go visit a doctor, can and will you be honest with them about everything?

Start with those - evaluate the sincerity.

It has been my observance that when someone is really tired of chasing the tolerance, and the need to use to feel OK, and avoid WD's.... then there will be a path.

For you and your friend to understand. The doctors are not going to be shocked. The staff is not going to be amazed. If they are like mine, they are going to respect him for seeking help. They may have some requirements about getting therapy or going to a group meeting or something. They rely on honesty.

If indeed your friend will face his addiction, own up to the hell of his life, and get on legal suboxone - my suspicion is that he will feel 'normal' and you will see huge life changes. He will need to learn how to fill his days with non user thoughts.

Please understand, he probably doesn't really know what being on suboxone is like, unless he has been on it (from the street) for a week or two. He may have even had bad experiences from the street because of how it works (it basically blocks regular opiates when on a full dose) for 37 or more hours.

I hope this helps some. You are a vector of help. He is either ready to get help, or he is not. He might as well be honest with himself - that suboxone is not a fun drug to 'play with' - and it's a serious step to recovery. Also, taking vicodin and bupe is a bad idea. Suboxone, I think for most of us, provides us a HUGE SECURITY BANKET - as we know if we fall and try other drugs we will just be wasting $$. So why bother.

All the best!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:45 am 
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Lathedude has a great idea in those 4 leading questions with which you can evaluate your friend's sincerity. I think that's a terrific idea. It has the potential to give you a good sense of exactly where his state of mind is.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Melissa

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:54 am 
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I'll see if I can pose those questions today.

Thank you all SO much. I'll definitely keep you updated.

Oh, and P.S. (junkie781 - I read your intro last night, actually. Dude. I have nothing but respect.)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:03 am 
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Xeno-

Hello, I admire you wanting to help your friend- many times an addict gets to a point where they exhaust every friendship they have and end up alone. I hope it never reaches that point for you, but there are some things I want to point out.
The most important thing to your friend is not being in pain, not suffering. Whatever he has to do in order to avoid that, he will. The important thing is that so far, he has not done anything too bad- but that does not mean he won't. I think once someone reaches a certain point in addiction, they lose hope of getting better. The addiction replaces any logical thought process and they will justify their methods because of that fact.
Suboxone is a wonderful tool in the recovery process, but it needs to have other recovery tools working along side of it. Similar to building a house- if the foundation is not solid, the structure will fall. The foundation of your friend's recovery needs to be solid and not compromised. I guess the ultimate question is, How does he feel about recovery? Does he feel he is able to do this?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:37 am 
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He currently believes that he can get off the needle with vicodin, taper the vicodin, and then get clean. I very much doubt this. However - flawed or not, it's very clear that the idea is in his head to get clean at all. I see this as a positive sign.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:17 pm 
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Well, I left work to hunt him down. His mom had no clue where he was. I checked the usual haunts. I ultimately found him (by phone) at a friend's house. This friend is a junkie himself, and a small-time dealer. They both sounded sedated. He gave me some crap about "waiting for someone" he's planning on selling his old car to. Now - there's a kernel of truth. I know he's been trying to sell this car. However, there is no conceivable reason why he'd be waiting there as a result of this. I'm sure it's a lie.

I guess I have my answer without even asking.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:26 pm 
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Finally got to talk to him. I didn't have long, so I couldn't go into any great depth. I made no mention of the other day, but he showed me his arms, so it was assumed.

I asked him if he still wanted to quit. He said yes. I told him in no uncertain terms that "no" was also an acceptable answer, and that I would not abandon him as a result, although I would back off trying to help. He still said he wanted to quit.

It seems the person he's selling this old car to is in a position to supply him with quite a supply of suboxone. Quite unexpectedly, he told me that this person said that he's only willing to do so if he had sincerely decided to quit. "You have to want to." I'm amazed and relieved that someone else is out there trying to make a difference, even if in a suboptimal way. I would much rather it be done in conjunction with counseling and medical supervision, but it's a small victory and I'll settle for it for the time being.

Next, I explained as much as I could in the time I had about what I've already learned from all of you. He seemed very open to the idea of finding a doctor and a legit prescription that could be covered by Medicaid.

I also explained about naabt, and this place. He seemed receptive to that as well.

So, it's not the whole package yet - there's way more to accomplish, but I see this as progress. Today. Who knows about tomorrow?

As for me - Jesus, what a freaking roller-coaster ride this is. How the hell does anyone do it?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:59 pm 
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I want to say that you have gotten some great advice and replies from the others! There isn't much I can add, but I did want to drop by.



First, I would like to say you are one great person! I am not saying that us other addicts don't always have people who care about us (cause many do and many don't), but I think you are going out of your way for a friend and that is really nice. You are trying to save his life and trying to live your own. You are really a good friend to this guy (kid?). Forgive me, I have been reading your thread as the replies came, but I did not JUST read it right before I am writing this.

That is great that your friend wants to get clean, because as said and as you know, one has to want to get out of active addiction in order to do so. Someone else cannot force another into recovery and expect outstanding results! It can happen, but I am sure the odds are better if the person wants to be in recovery for themselves. I am sure he knows what he is doing to himself and others, because after a while most of us(I am recovering addict, 8+ months in suboxone treatment) realize what we are doing but cannot stop by ourselves.....we have tried and tried! I think the sooner he gets into a suboxone program with a good doctor things will be so much better. Until then, ya'll do what you gotta do! Bupe is better then the other drugs for sure, but anything from the streets is illegal. A doctor is so much better cause then your friend won't be breaking any laws. I am not judging, not by a long shot! Just saying.

You did ask, "how we do it?" I cannot answer that, because I am the recovering addict and have not been in your situation as of yet. I really wish I could answer it, but I will say no matter what it probably won't be easy....but it CAN be done!!!!! Stick with it, but don't become over consumed by it. This is life and death we are dealing with here!

I want to wish the both of you the best of luck and please just ask if we can help with ANYTHING. You are doing great so far and just take it a little bit at a time. Take Care!

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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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