Tag Archives: Methadone maintenance

Police and Purdue Pharma

I am from a small town that is living in the wake of an epidemic started by Oxycontin. I cannot possibly remember the names of the vast numbers of friends, and friends of friends that have become addicted to this drug.

Some years ago, there was a dealer that I visited regularly. He was a sickly man, in a wheelchair and had dialysis performed on him twice weekly. He was also a scumbag, though I don’t want to get bogged down in detail. His routine was doctor shopping, obtaining and then selling oxycontin. One day, I got word he may be selling to someone very dear to me. I went to him and said that under no circumstances was it okay with me for him to sell to this person. I also warned him that if I found out, I would report him.

Later that year I found out he was in fact doing what I heard. So making good on my word, I went to the police. I was in the methadone clinic (thinking I was clean) by this time, so it wasn’t hurting my supply. Anyway, I went to the police and had a sit down with the head drug guy. I was surprised to find out they already knew everything I was telling them. They knew he doctor shopped, knew he was selling, and even knew he was a scumbag.

Why didn’t they arrest him then I asked? Because it would cost the prison too much to house him they said. That was their answer to me! This is a guy who had a large hand in starting the oxycontin epidemic in my small town. Something I predicted to the police he would do by the way. However, as I began thinking about it, I realized that the sickly scumbag wasn’t the one truly responsible. I did some research, and became convinced that Purdue Pharma needed to be graced with that title.

Oxycontin is a drug that Purdue Pharma released in 1995, supposedly for chronic pain. I think it is plain to see now however, that this company knew it was creating a drug many people would abuse. This could not be made any clearer when three of Purdue Pharma’s top execs plead guilty in 2007 to criminal charges. They admitted their company had misled doctors and patients by saying that Oxycontin was less prone to abuse than similar drugs because it was a long-acting narcotic.

Purdue Pharma was basically saying that because of Oxycontin’s outer, time released coating, it was “long acting”. It is actually long acting when taken as directed because the drug is time released over a 12 hour period. I’m thinking this is what allowed Purdue Pharma to get away with putting such powerful pain pills on the market. Until that point, one of the strongest, regularly used pain pills was a 5mg Percocet.

5mg Percocet has 5mgs of Oxycodone with 500mgs of acetominophen (tylenol). Oxycontin comes as strong as 80mgs of straight oxycodone. Tell me how any of us with even a sliver of the addictive nature had a chance? Can’t you just picture the glee in their eyes, as these three yo-yo’s dreamed up this mega pill? Do you think for a second they didn’t know thousands would be addicted in a short time? By the same token, do you think they didn’t know that people would begin chewing the pills up, effectively nullifying the time release and giving the person an insta-high?

It would be alright though,  because the methadone clinics were waiting in the wings to welcome all the new-born pill heads. They were there to shift the addiction from oxycontin to the lifesaving drug methadone. Thank goodness they left the light on for us right? Wrong! Rest assured I have plenty of rage in store for those fine folks. Just feel like I need to wait until I’m completely clean first. Lest the unethical dip shits get wind of it and throw me out on my ear before I’m fully detoxed. I don’t think for a second they would hesitate to do it either.

Quickly, I have one more thing to say. I know some people may think that going to the police made me a rat. Others may think it made me a hypocrite, and you all may be right on both points. I just knew what the drugs had done to me, and at all costs, I was going to attempt to intervene on behalf of this loved one. It did not help, nor could anyone have helped me (at that point), but I had to try. Lastly, I want it perfectly clear that I am not angry with law with law enforcement. Quite the contrary actually, as I am very pro law enforcement. However, I do feel they dropped they ball on this matter.

ismelltherain

Functioning addict

I was thinking this morning about how some that read this blog may perceive me. I figured some may picture me as the stereotypical drug addict that is dirty, smelly and unkempt? Maybe to some of you, I have been homeless, in and out of jail with track marks up and down my arms. Fact is, I am none of those things. I take a shower every night, never been homeless, never been in jail (because of drugs) and never shot dope. I am married with kids, have a full time job, a car payment and even a mortgage. I could be anyone you know. Wait, let me rephrase that, I am someone you know; your child’s teacher, your therapist, or your grocery store clerk. The consummate functioning addict that doesn’t function, I am.

Still, I hurt. Yesterday was very hard for me physically. It was probably my worst day so far. I will keep on keepin’ on though. My wife, my beautiful wife, is the pillar on which I stand. Thank you so much dear. You have waited on me, patiently for so very long haven’t you? I’m still in the woods, and the storm is raging now but I am coming. I will be home soon.

ismelltherain

Withdrawal and Pleasure Things

I go to the methadone clinic on Fridays. My usual routine is to get there about 5:30am and wait in line for about 30 minutes. I take the dose for that day at the window and receive 6 take home doses for the week. My rate of decrease has been 5mgs every 2 weeks. In the beginning, this was no problem because if you look at percentages, when on high doses, 5mgs is not all that much. On the other hand, when I am at 45mgs/day, 5mgs is a substantial amount. So, now every 2 weeks I get set for a few days of hell after my decrease.  My last decrease was last Friday (1week ago). I am now leveling out, but this has been the worst week so far.

I have been asked many times what  withdrawal from opiates is like. Most times, I just say that it is the flu X 10. What it’s truly like, if you’ve never experienced it, you’ll never fully understand. The physical is that my calves feel like they are in a vice grips. I hurt to the marrow of my bones. My stomach is constantly churning and diarrhea is a constant. My skin is sore and nothing feels good touching it. There is an overall feeling of the worst kind of uncomfortable you can imagine. Possibly the worst part is the mental- the evil my mind plays.

There is a demon always near. It is in my ear, telling me that I want no part of sobriety and that I am not strong enough to deal with the pain I have been numb to for so long. This is one mean son of a bitch too because he uses the weakest of my weak thoughts against me. It’s as though it has talons that slice through my scalp and crack open my scull. The evil is rifling through parts of my brain, looking for the pleasure thing. It seeks to inject it with more feelgood, making me feel no more. I’m sure this seems crazy to anyone that has never experienced withdrawal.  You would be right, it is most definitely crazy. Things no normal person would think or feel. Good thing for me then because I am not normal. Such are the thoughts and feelings of an opiate addict. I am only putting my interpretation on what many before me have felt, I can assure you. It is a very dark and scary place at times. Fortunately for me, the pleasure thing in my brain has not yet been found. I am still on a path towards the light. Still not looking back.

I want to take a quick second and dedicate this blog to someone. He once was a very good friend of mine and I led him astray. The same way I was led astray by the one before me. Only difference is the one before me never made it out alive as he overdosed and died many years ago. This person knows who he is and has forgiven me, but I have yet to forgive myself. If and when I make it out of this nightmare, I hope I can help guide him through too. You know who you are and I want you to know that you are a gift to this planet. I feel that we’re going to be a team again, just in a good way this time. You are on my mind buddy, I want you to know that.

ismelltherain

Methadone addiction

I started this blog to help myself as well as others who are trapped.  For those like me, who are locked in a life or death struggle in a methadone clinic, aka methadone death camp. My affair with opiates began when I was about 24 years old. Right around the time that Oxycontin (OC) was hitting the opiate scene. OC eventually led me to methadone maintenance treatment (MTT). Sounds all professionally medical and stuff huh. Yeah well methadone, as it turns out, is actually the hardest of all opiates to kick. Health, relationships, finances, taste and emotions are just a few things that this hideous drug has robbed me of.  About 1 year ago, I decided I wanted my life back.

Right now I am at 40mgs/day. This is down from roughly 160mgs/day when I began my detox just over 1 year ago.  I can tell my sense of taste is coming back because foods are becoming rich again. I am losing my mad craving for sweets, which is very common with methadone use. My emotions are on a roller coaster as I find myself confronting feelings that have been numb to me for 20 years. My body aches as the opiates leave me. If you didn’t already know, the physical aspects of detox are horrendous for methadone addicts. There are times I swear I can almost feel sludge on my skin as this poison slowly seeps from my pores. It’s okay though because I have young children that I mean to see for the first time. They are coming into view now, but still a bit cloudy. Just the other day, as I was contemplating this blog, I was outside and I actually smelled the rain coming in on the wind. I was surprised when I realized it was something I had not smelled in a very long time. Opiates dull everything in your life and this does not exclude sense of smell. That rain smelled glorious by the way.

I would like everyone that reads it, to take this blog for what you will. Some may use it for information and others encouragement. Know this though-my heart and soul will be poured onto these pages so it will be alive. Leave messages of encouragement if you feel the notion, for they will be greatly appreciated. Please pass it on though as I want as many warm bodies behind me as I can get. I figure, a professional fighter does not go into a fight alone. He has a pack of supporters that come to the fight with him, for him. Why wouldn’t I want as many people as possible in my corner when I am in the fight of my life? The answer is that I do. I know I cannot do this alone.  Also, if you know someone struggling with addiction, direct him or her here. Hopefully, we can find peace together.

I think much of the words in the song “Only God Knows Why” by Kid Rock. I have always thought of it as my theme song. The words ring especially true now:
People don’t know about the things I say and do
They don’t understand about the shit that I’ve been through
It’s been so long since I’ve been home
I’ve been gone, I’ve been gone for way too long
Maybe I forgot all things I miss
Oh somehow I know there’s more to life than this
I said it too many times
And I still stand firm
You get what you put in
And people get what they deserve
Still I ain’t seen mine
No I ain’t seen mine
I’ve been giving just ain’t been gettin
I’ve been walking that there line
So I think I’ll keep a walking
WITH MY HEAD HELD HIGH!!

Thank you all immensely for reading,

ismelltherain