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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:39 am 
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I grew up where Trainspotting was set 20 years ago, and in a lot of ways, the novel and film are quite accurate to what it's still like here. This is not an understatement or a joke or any sort. Growing up, I was exposed to the temptation of drugs in my teens, and some of my best friends fell victim to heroin addiction, but at the time I managed to steer clear of that route and decided to do something good with my life.

I got into a very prestigious university here in the UK and was studying a medical degree, with a special interest in addictionology, writing all my papers on it wherever I could, getting involved and reading. I'd seen the damage that could done, and I wanted to be part of the solution. However, after 4 years of studying and seeing the state of the NHS and just HOW patients and staff (See the junior doctors strikes currently, which I would have been involved in had I completed my degree on time) were being treated on the NHS , I decided to leave my degree and refocus my efforts elsewhere. That wasn't the kind of life I wanted to make for myself anymore.

However things went downhill, and I went from an idyllic life into the deepest despairs of heroin addiction. Now, after a year of this, I could take no more. I had nothing left in my life: my hopes, dreams, morals, all gone. And sought out help to get off opiates at my local addiction services. It has been an absolute nightmare dealing with them from start to finish.

TO begin with, getting an appointment with the "prescribing team" to get on suboxone or even methadone, had a waiting list of 2 months at least, after which it would be another month or two before they could start a prescription. At the point I went for help, I was at the end of my tether, selling my body for money to support my habit and ending up in situations where I'd been raped and assaulted, and unless I Could get off the heroin (which I DESPERATELY wanted to do - I simply couldn't source any illicit buprenorphine) this would have to continue.

I was told with a smile "Just try to keep safe and go off and keep on in there :)"

Harm reduction indeed. Now this is what I had to go through to get my first appointment at all:

    I receive a voicemail stating an appointment on Tuesday at 4pm with a staff member and being asked if I could call back to confirm.
  1. I phone back to confirm and they tell me no such appointment or member of staff exists, and that I must be confused. I relisten to the voicemail jut in case, but there is no confusion whatsoever. Upon calling the clinic back, they basically fob me off as if I am somehow out of my mind or absolutely stupid claiming that I MUST be mishearing it because they have no record of said phonecall, appointment, or staff member.
  2. I go to my GP with my mother to discuss my opiate misuse problem. Personally, I didn't want to do this as I knew the GP is unable/unwilling to prescribe for addiction issues, and would simply refer me to the clinic where I had been for triage. However, I made the appointment and went (the Thursday before this "nonexistent" appointment on the Tuesday) with her. While there, I mentioned the issue about this mysterious appointment to my GP, who pulls up that he received a letter stating that I DO have an appointment on said Tuesday that the voicemail said, but at 9:30am, instead of 4pm! He prints off a copy of this letter for my reference, and also implies that I am somehow stupid for not knowing I had this appointment or the time, despite the efforts I'd gone to try to confirm it. He promises me he'll phone up the clinic the next day and clarify with them, and if there were any issues, he'd call me to let me know. If he did not call me back, I was to assume that the appointment was on on Tuesday at 9:30 and he'd clarified.
  3. I receive no phone call from the GP, so on the Tuesday I go to the clinic at 9:30am for this mysterious appointment, armed with the letter the GP had printed out for me as well as a letter I received in the post to my home address of the same information ON THE DAY OF THE APPOINTMENT. The reception staff once again claim ignorance of this appointment and treat me like I'm stupid. Infuriated, I present them with the appointment letter and continue to wait while they call around the centre.
  4. At 10am (half an hour after appointment was supposed to be) a worker comes out to speak to me to tell me that there has been confusion on their end, and that I do have an appointment on that day, but at 4pm as the voicemail had said. I am mildly chastised for turning up at 9:30am, despite the fact that the letter I received stated 9:30am and my GP had confirmed this.

Sorry that that's a lot, but I really want to highlight the absolute nonsense I had to go through just to get my first appointment, and this is not to mention the appointment itself. In which I was patronised, mildly insulted, outright lied to - the worker herself tried to tell me things about how ORT and methadone worked which were completely fallacious. When I called her out on these things, she claimed she is an expert and knew more than me, despite the fact I wrote PAPERS on the specific aspect of methadone we were talking about and she herself, was not a practitioner at all, but simply a glorified receptionist there to go through the paperwork with me. All in all the whole experience was infuriating, but I played along, and got myself an appointment with the prescribing team.

Now thankfully in the meantime due to the NHS's 4 month waiting list to get prescribed subs, I managed to get a source for "black market" buprenorphine and induced myself before my first appointment with the prescribing team. I did everything properly in terms of using the COWS scale and dosage. When I Saw the prescribing team, they seemed pleased that I had managed to do this myself, as "it's much safer" - of course it is! But they've now told me that in order for them to write a prescription for me to continue on subutex or suboxone legitimately, even though the drugs tests have come back confirming that I am "clean" and on suboxone (and even on a lower dose than they recommended I Should need) they want me to stop taking the suboxone I have acquired for 3/4 days, so that I can go back into withdrawal so they can induce me again themselves because that's how "they like to do things".

I am just all in all so frustrated. Looked for help, told I can't get any for about TWO MONTHS after I present begging for help to stop using - bear in mind because of my mental health I was able to jump to the top of the queue, so it would ahve been 4 months plus. And in that time I've managed to (At great stress to source it myself) stabilise myself on suboxone, they want me to stop taking them for 3/4 days to go into horrific withdrawals again to simply be stabilised, beause that's the policy, even though all of their tests show that I am not doing anything illicit and that I'm well stabilised.

Sorry to rant so much, but this is my introduction, my situation and my frustration! I'm SubScot and I'm at the very least, not using today because of subs.


P.S. Disclaimer: I am not condoning the sharing of prescribed medications. Me stating that I'm buying them, is simply the facts and what I'm having to do to get by myself at the moment and I am in no way attempting to solicit medication. This is just my intro and my situation.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:42 pm 
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HI SubScot

Welcome to the Forum!

I am so sorry you had to go through so much heartache just to finally obtain this life saving medication.

I really HATE when us addicts are ready to finally get help, but then there is too much RED TAPE to get the medication that will save us literally. I think makes addicts continue using because it can be either too much paperwork or waiting time or $ to get on Subs.

Hopefully this rough start won't get you too down, You are now able to get your prescription hopefully and start your life away from H. I am so glad that you kept persistent and made sure to keep following up til you got your appointment.

Stay strong and keep posting about your experience. The people here are very informative and helpful.

Good luck to you!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:24 pm 
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Hello SubScot & welcome.

Sometimes the hoops u have to jump through and the waiting u have to do is so frustrating and seems really unfair. My clinic has a waiting list of July right now and I remember bk when I was making my appointment yrs ago, it was a two month wait. But if that's the only way we can get the help we need, we have to play by their rules or we'll be suffering even longer. Some ppl just don't have a clue on what we're going through and if they do then they don't see it as their problems. It is unfair. Not all of us seeking help with suboxone have to go through that, not all doctors are like that at least.

I'm glad u at least got it somewhat straightened out, it's absolutely worth the hell u went through to get this treatment I promise u that. I do wish there wasn't such a waiting period to get this help though because some ppl won't still be around when that appt finally becomes available. Some ppl overdose and pass away and some will give up and go bk out there using. Hopefully the patient cap will be lifted eventually, that's a big cause for the long waiting lists.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:15 pm 
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Thanks for your kind words and responses. Just to clarify - the life-saving medication (indeed that it is!) I am having to buy myself on the streets currently, as I'm still navigating the red tape. My drug test have both come back (positive for buprenorphine only, as that's what I've been taking) and they're telling me that's all well and good. They've agreed to start me on suboxone, induced onto a supervised daily dose at the local pharmacy (a bit nervous about this, as I'm a fast metaboliser and I've been splitting my dose so far!) but in order to do so they do want me to have to go in next week in full blown withdrawals, which AFAIK will take a good few days of missed doses. Considering I'm stabilised now, it seems counterproductive, as induction is the point of highest risk of relapse or dropping out of treatment.

Here's hoping!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:41 am 
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Welcome SubScot,
Good on you for seeking help! even if it has been a little disjointed so far.
It's great news you are accepted into a program. Only, is there a way to avoid what they are asking of you as far as WD and induction?
How would they know either way? In Australia, we induct at the pharmacy and I imagine it could be done without WD. What do you think? Sub has a long half life, so even after 3 days many people don't feel much in the way of WD.
How long have you been taking subs?
I have been on subs for over 4 yrs and have not lapsed since the first couple of days after my induction. It has been the best decision I have ever made. I cannot imagine where I would be now without it.
It's a hard life being an addict and I too know how dark it feels when you have nothing but your body to sell. I could never steal or hurt someone else, I considered that my only option. It's nice putting that life behind me as you are doing too.
I'm happy you are here and hope you keep posting!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:58 am 
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I'm with Katipo, that's a good thing to think about. Is that something that's possible?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:11 pm 
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Katipo wrote:
Welcome SubScot,
Good on you for seeking help! even if it has been a little disjointed so far.
It's great news you are accepted into a program. Only, is there a way to avoid what they are asking of you as far as WD and induction?
How would they know either way? In Australia, we induct at the pharmacy and I imagine it could be done without WD. What do you think? Sub has a long half life, so even after 3 days many people don't feel much in the way of WD.
How long have you been taking subs?
I have been on subs for over 4 yrs and have not lapsed since the first couple of days after my induction. It has been the best decision I have ever made. I cannot imagine where I would be now without it.
It's a hard life being an addict and I too know how dark it feels when you have nothing but your body to sell. I could never steal or hurt someone else, I considered that my only option. It's nice putting that life behind me as you are doing too.
I'm happy you are here and hope you keep posting!


Sorry to change subjects for a moment subscot, but I need to address something with Katipo. By the way, I always say your name as katipoo inside my head out of feeling endearment toward you.

You are not now, nor were you ever that person who sold yourself. That was your addiction making decisions, not your true self. You won't accept compliments here and maybe that's because you think you've done too many bad things to deserve anything good being said about you. I want you to know that you are not the sum of the things you regret. You are so much more than that. I see your intelligence and compassion on display here and I know who you are.

Would you judge everyone here based on the worst things they have done? A year and a half ago I got into a sexting relationship for a couple of weeks and had plans to meet up with this person! Meanwhile, I'm a married woman! I feel fortunate that the meeting fell through and I came to my senses. Do you think I should be judged based on that lapse in morality? Is that all I am? Believe me, I've gone through plenty of self-recrimination because of my actions. But I've had to let that go. If I mired myself in doubt and regret for the things I have done in the past, I wouldn't be as effective a moderator, student, mother, or many other things.

There is not one person here who doesn't think they've done some unforgivable things. If you think that we should be judged on the strides we've made and what we wish to accomplish for our futures, then you need to apply that thinking to yourself. It's not fair of anyone to judge you from your lowest low, including yourself!!

The next time, Katipo, a compliment comes your way, work on accepting it, knowing that there is plenty of good that you are putting out into the world right now. If you think that the rest of us deserve some compassion for what addiction has put us through, you need to be willing to apply that forgiveness and empathy to yourself as well.

This goes for anyone on this forum who is struggling to forgive themselves for what they did at their worst, and neglecting to notice all the good they have done here and elsewhere. Each of you deserve, not only our kindness, but kindness from yourselves as well.

Amy

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 12:51 pm 
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One of the reasons I come to this site is to learn more about what lead me to my path as an addict and obtain information that helps me in my continued recovery.

I am profoundly grateful for the posts on this thread and the lifting up of individuals as they/we each face our respective difficulties. So many different specific life experiences here yet common themes connect us all.

Subscot, thank you for your powerful post. Really. Sad, yet very powerful. I think of you and send support across the pond. Although quite different from yours, in my time, I too had quite a journey to get on bup. Seems indefensible to me, in this current day, when we have means to save lives, that MAT acceptance remains low and hence availability remains low. Perhaps w your background and training, one day you can help change that. If my math is correct, about May 1, you will start in an approved program and obtain bup scripts. I will be most interested in learning what your program is like for you. After your recent change from active addiction to privately sourced bup, my best wishes to you these next 2 mos as you soon enter a legit bup program!! Please let us hear from YOU!

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Stopping went well -- its the staying stopped -- where the real work begins.
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