Monday, September 12, 2005

Special Disaster Associated with Katrina for Opiate Dependent Residents

At last one major newspaper has commented on the special disaster associated with Katrina for opiate dependent residents (Chicago Tribune, Sept. 9). It sure would be nice if some newspaper were to editorialize on this aspect and note that in treatment or out, opiate dependent persons have a medical condition for which treatment availability should be given precisely the same priority as diabetes, epilepsy, hypertension, etc. Instead, the only reference I've seen to this segment of the affected population was a quote by New Orleans Mayor regarding hordes of marauding addicts roaming the street searching for their "fixes."

ALSO, can't help commenting on the Betty Ford price tag for its services - $20,000 for 30 days care! Wow - and at the same time we're told here that waiting lists for methadone treatment in Louisiana (PRE-flood!!) numbered 1,800. The socioeconomic divide among Americans that the storm highlighted clearly extends to treatment access as well. No surprise about any of this, but still…

7 Comments:

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure wher you received those stats but in New Orleans there is no waiting to get on Mdone. 80% of the states junkies live in New Orleans.

 
At 12:13 PM, Anonymous bud said...

methadone and natural or man-made disasters

After seeing what happened in New Orleans and Texas after the hurricanes hit,
I'd love to know what I can do to further the cause of MMT education among the medical, law making and law enforcement communities. I am 50 years old and have been on methadone for half of my life now. I have a college education and have been continuously employed the whole time. I currently have a 6 figure income and a huge chunk of it goes to State and Federal taxes every year. While in college I had been jailed for obtaining narcotics with illegal prescriptions. I had tried many times, unsuccessfully, to get on a methadone program (which was free at the time) but was turned down because I was not addicted to heroin. They claimed I was a "poly" drug user and not eligible....I was hopelessly addicted to narcotics and was simply amazed that the doctor did not consider me a candidate for MMT because I was addicted to a pharmaceutical narcotic instead of heroin....so I continued to obtain tussionex by calling in prescriptions impersonating a doctor. I was so successful at it that I did it almost daily over a 3 year period before I was arrested. I ended up with having to take either 6 ounces or 36 pills per day just to be able to attend school and work...and that just kept me from getting sick, I no longer got high on it. I must have done it 8 or 9 hundred..maybe a thousand times before my luck ran out. I lived in a major metropolitan area with a population of about 5 million people so I could call different pharmacies as different doctors for a very long time, but I knew it couldn't go on forever. The end came when I happened to call a pharmacist who was a golfing buddy with the doctor I was impersonating. Needless to say, he knew I wasn't him.....so when I went to pick it up the cops were waiting for me behind the tall shelves of medicine. As soon as I asked for it they popped out, jumped the front counter and tackled me to the ground. The first one had me in a chicken wing half nelson while the other one put a huge pistol to my neck. They had a merry old time inflicting as much pain on me as possible before handcuffing and hauling me to jail. To make a long story a little shorter...I was sentenced to either 8 years in state prison or 3 years in a court-ordered, live-in treatment facility which was the most bizarre experience you can imagine...(one treatment method was to make you wear a diaper (and nothing else) and be continuously berated, screamed at and kept awake for several days at a time....all the while doing different types of physical labor like scrubbing the bathrooms with a toothbrush, etc.. Needless to say, once I was finally free.... (3 years later)....I was not cured, despite the absolute certainty of the "doctors" and counselors that this was the only way to cure a craving for drugs. My drug of choice was tussionex, which at the time had the same properties that OxyContin now has. I knew that I would eventually end up right back in the same place if I continued busting scripts so I ended up getting on heroin simply so my urine would permit me to get on the waiting list for a methadone program.
This was in '79 or '80 and I have been employed, married with 2 kids and drug free (other than methadone) ever since. I have heard horror stories from people at my clinic because where I live does not allow the dosing of methadone patients by their doctors in the city or county jails and going cold turkey off of methadone is pretty traumatic after a few days. The strange thing is that some of the smaller cities around here DO allow it. It seems there should be a consistent law on this....do they also deny diabetics the use of insulin?
I have no reason to be going to jail in ANY city....but just the thought of it terrifies me. It seems to be a needless torture done out of ignorance to methadone patients. I had to kick my habit in jail cold turkey back then and it was so brutal I didn't think I'd live through it......and I was a young man then. There have been stories of older patients on high doses actually dying in jail and having it listed as 'natural causes' or a heart attack.
I am a living testament to the success of MMT. What can be done to help educate others as to the benefits of it for everyone involved? Its a win/win situation...as good for the community as it is for the patient. Is it possible to come up with a new name or term for it? In this country methadone has come to have the same stigma attached to it as heroin. Having a prescription or being able to obtain it at pharmacies would be so much easier when natural or terrorist disasters occur. Having thousands of severely dope-sick patients desperate for relief has got to be more frightening to lawmakers, FEMA and those in charge of disaster preparedness. I have seen it in a smaller way during snowstorms that shut down streets and clinics. It is a real problem that could be avoided with a little forethought, consistent laws and better education of doctors, pharmacists, lawmakers and police.
I have had temporary transfers to England, Switzerland and Germany and am always amazed at their programs and attitudes as compared to the USA. We like to think of ourselves as so much more advanced than others...but it certainly isn't the case where this subject is concerned.
bud

 
At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been on methadone maintence for about 8 years. I am currently on a MSW (Medically supervided withdrawal) My dose goes down 2mg per week. It takes time to get adjusted to MMP. So to come down you have to be ready. Mentally and physically. I have been clean since I got stable. I live a good productive life and currently work in a treatment center for opiates and alchol addictions. Methadone has a bad rep. It is a great program for the ones that really want help. It saved my life. I never thought I could live a drug free life. NEVER

 
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At 4:47 PM, Blogger ytnom Ianfrancescog said...

methadone is a form of mental mummification and sexual castration.The testimony of Bud above, is not the norm but extreme exception.Remember too that methadone came out of Hitlers regime.Whatever that`s worth in the realm of know.I urge everyone on the stuff to take back control of your own life and not leave yourself open to be controlled by dope.And that`s what it is,dope.Am 40 ml,and descending a.s.a.p.Good luck

 
At 12:22 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Wow thank you for that.....I can proudly say I'm on a methadone maintenance program in delaware & have been clean this winter 6 years. It took getting kicked off & going back out in the streets to realize this is absolutely horrible why am I doing this to my self. My lows kept getting lower & lower & when is this going to stop !!! After a month getting back on the methadone & seraquils I finally quit using & haven't looked back. I'm proudly 6 years clean. I honestly truely dont think I would have had this success with out the methadone. I'm 36 now I've been an addict for over 21 years, this is the ONLY ONLY method that's allowed me more then a week or two abstinence. I feel the Sun shine on my face again. When your sick u forget ....when your high you forget how good that feels ♡

 
At 12:26 AM, Blogger NATALIE LUCAS said...

Wow thank you for that.....I can proudly say I'm on a methadone maintenance program in delaware & have been clean this winter 6 years. It took getting kicked off & going back out in the streets to realize this is absolutely horrible why am I doing this to my self. My lows kept getting lower & lower & when is this going to stop !!! After a month getting back on the methadone & seraquils I finally quit using & haven't looked back. I'm proudly 6 years clean. I honestly truely dont think I would have had this success with out the methadone. I'm 36 now I've been an addict for over 21 years, this is the ONLY ONLY method that's allowed me more then a week or two abstinence. I feel the Sun shine on my face again. When your sick u forget ....when your high you forget how good that feels ♡

 

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