Friday, December 11, 2009

Lots of info, a little too late

Sometimes, in my effort to not "enable" my son, I should have done my own research. To be specific, I should have made my own phone calls to our methadone clinics to get the FACTS on how to get into the program. Let me explain-- I didn't make the calls, because I didn't condone it.

So, my son calls me right before my lunch break. It's my son, and the first words out of his mouth are, "Mom, I have bad news".

Does that make ice flow through your veins? It did me.

In short, B tells me he had a UA and came up clean for heroin and so the methandone clinic wouldn't prescribe methadone because he's not using.  He's upset, and I'm calmly telling him to slow down....  B says "I should just buy a little heroin, smoke it and then I'll test positive and then I'll get on methadone."


I tell my son I will call him later.  So, I make the calls to both of our local clinics.

Clinic #1 tells me that they send their UA's away, and it takes 3-5 days for results to come back. They are mandated, by law, to find traces of opiates. It makes total sense to me. The law won't allow them to introduce opiates. I get it. Their 21 day program costs $300.00. Maintenance is $375.00.  B says he only needs 21 days, and the clinic does a blind taper.   If my son brings in his suboxone, that will help. Most likely he can get into this clinic, but not for another week.  In the meantime, my son is freaking out. But... he has no money. Zip. Nada. 

Clinic #2 is the one B says he went to, today.  Interesting...their UA's are also sent away. They wouldn't get immediate results. So, whose lying here? Why? I speak to a counselor. She explains to me that in order to qualify, the person needs to be IN withdrawals. IF the person is in withdrawals, then the doctor determins "yes" or "no".  There is no guarantee.

In the meantime, B is now on to wanting to find a doctor who will just prescribe the methadone.  I'm not liking this at all. It's a copout.  At least, with both methadone clinics, he has to take UA tests and there are counselors there. With the doctor, I have visions of cha-ching and that's it.

But, what stands out the most-- B says to me he can't do withdrawals. He just can't. He's scared. I can hear the panic in his voice.

I say "let's get you into a detox place". He panics. No way! He says he HAS to have a pill. He absolutely cannot do detox. He's almost hysterical, at this point.

Breathe, mom.

Therein lies the problem.  My son cannot build the courage to go through detox. I remember it well-- April 2008.  B is on meds for several days at his treatment center. He's all happy he's getting help. He's doing great. Everybody loves him.  We are told that to brace ourselves that the addict will panic, as withdrawals become worse. We are told that, under no circumstances, to pick up the addict (my son is two hours away).

Sure enough. The treatment center quits all meds for detox.  I guess there's no way around it. At some point, the addict must go cold turkey.  B panics, big time. He calls me at midnight. He's afraid. He's begging me to come and get him. I hang up, and start crying. He calls again.  Again, I say "no".  He calls me every bad name he can think of-- and more. I unplug the phone. B removes me from the list of people who are allowed to call the treatment center.  We come to the next class, and B is really sick. He's got diahrrea and he's vomiting and very, very sick. His blood sugar is skyrocketing. 

B made it, though. 30-days of inpatient treatment, my son was clean.  Everybody loved my son and said what a nice kid he is.  That lasted for, oh-- 3 months?

So, here we go again.  My son is convinced he's going to detox with methadone. I know my kid. He's determined to do it his way.

There is nothing anyone can do to change my son's mind.  My choice is to no support the decision. The money is in his trust account. It won't come out of my own pocket. I guarantee that.

I hate this. I hate that crap.  Who discovered this nasty black tar crap, is what I want to know? It has consumed my son's life and destroyed so much-- his health, his finances and I can't even help my son!

Merry Christmas.

I'm angry at addiction at this moment. This, too, shall pass. Later.  For now, I'm venting.

Thanks for listening.


clean and crazy said...

i am right there with you, my baby brother has been on methadone for 3 years now, supposedly he takes it for pain of fibromialgia and he has a positive HIV status and the ryan white foundation will only give him methadone for pain, what ever. so now he has been on this crap for 3 years i begged him not to take it. he is an addict and won't admit it. fine, so now he goes to the hospital thinking he is dehydrated and guess what, he comes out with a catheter because he has an enlarged prostate and if he doesn't use the catheter he will be considered in renal failure. yup just like mom. i frigging HATE methadone, i told him this is what caused it and what are they going to do, well he has no insurance now he needs home health because he can't even do his ADL's anymore and is in really bad pain and has developed a tolerance to methadone so it does not help. he says the doctors are talking about occupational therapy and weening him off of it. i say get off of it completely Wes tells me the way it works they have to slowly ween and it could take 9 months and some people never get off of it!!!
my brother is 32 years old and he is dying!! he has to use a walker and soon it will be a wheel chair. i tried to tell him not to take it but he is convinced that it is the only thing that will help. powerless over people places and things, you know, it sometimes sucks.

Dad and Mom said...

You are doing right mom. At some point, today, tomorrow or whenever B will go through the withdrawal process. I just hope B finds to courage to to stare this demon squarely in the eyes and walk away today. Be needs to do this now while he can make a choice, it will be just a matter of time before his behavior or using an illegal narcotic catches up to him with the law. If B is not brave enough to do this now, how bad will it be if he is confined in a noisy jail cell.

Cheri said...

Wow. There is nothing harder than being the parent of an addict... well, except being the addict himself.

Debby, this stinks. You are in our prayers.

B is in our prayers too.

Cheri and Wayne

Mom of Opiate Addict said...

When my son first attempted to get clean, we took him to our doctor and did a home detox over a period of two weeks. Of course that didn't work and when we returned to our doctor, the first thing he said was "so it looks like we need to send you to a Methadone clinic." My son said absolutely not because he didn't want to become addicted to Methadone. I look back, I don't have the answers but sometimes wonder if my doctor has seen so much of this now with the Vicoden and Oxy use, that he just felt the next step for my son would have been some type of maintenance drug? I personally think it prolongs the process and many end up abusing it, but I am not the addict so who knows. I am sorry we both have to be living through this with our sons and hope for all of us that one day they will recover. Renee

clean and crazy said...

prescription assistance program
1-888-4ppa now is the number and they help with getting medication. there is a website as well ok good luck with this talk to you soon.

Anonymous said...


I did post some info on why many long term addicts may need long term treatment with methadone. Many folks think that the purpose of methadone is simply to provide for an easier "detox" from the opiate of abuse and that's it. This is not the case at all. Methadone TREATS the imbalance in the brain chemistry that occurs with prolonged opiate abuse, and this condition may.....or may permanent. Many people want to know why their loved one is "still on that stuff" after ______ years. This is the reason why. It is NOT a cure--there IS no cure. It is a treatment. It controls the symptoms of active disease so the pt. can function. Just as diabetics must get insulin from an outside source because their pancreas no longer produces it, methadone replaces the endorphins that the brain no longer produces. Some diabetics need only diet and exercise, others need oral meds, still others require injectable insulin. In the same sense, some with opiate abuse induced endorphin deficiency need just support, time, exercise, etc---others need suboxone, and still others may need methadone--some short term, others long term. It's a spectrum.

(continued next post)

Anonymous said...

(continued from previous comment)

Your son's frantic desire to avoid a cold turkey detox is very understandable. There is no benefit to forcing someone to undergo these agonies. It does not "teach them a lesson"--they are ill, have a disruption of the brain chemistry, and torture cannot repair that problem.

However, I would be very very reluctant to put him through a 21 day "detox". Most states and most clinics have discontinued use of these programs as they have been shown to be VERY unsuccessful for long term abstinence. The problem, after all, is not getting the person OFF drugs--it is in KEEPING them off. Doctors now recommend a MINIMUM of 1-2 years' maintenance before even attempting a taper, to allow for stabilization. Please know that your son's not wanting to go the abstinence based route is not a lack of courage, or of being lazy, etc as many think. He knows well what will happen if he goes that route.

I myself went through 13 abstinence based rehabs without success, both in and out patient. I went to thousands of 12 steo meetings, had sponsors, worked the steps, did everything I was told. However, only with medication did I experience success--and the success was profound and long lasting.

Does it REALLY matter, truly, if a person needs a medication to function normally, as long as they DO function well? Many many people all over the world require a variety of daily medications to live, or to function normally, and they are almost never told to get off them or stop taking them. I swallow a medication each day that allows me to live a normal life and I don't give it another thought. My life is great. Had I been forced and pushed OFF this medication, for the purpose of being "drug free", I would undoubtedly be in jail or dead. It was very clear, after many such attempts, that abstinence was NOT working, despite my best efforts to make it work. My family agrees wholeheartedly--they are so amazed at the difference proper treatment has made in my life.

MMT is vilified primarily because people do not understand it or how it works and they believe rumors and false information they have heard or read. Used correctly, however, it can be a very valuable tool in the opioid addiction toolbox and is, in fact, far and away the MOST successful method of treatment for opioid addiction available today.

Madison said...

All so sad. You hang in there.

Anonymous said...

My partner messed around, smoking tar for a couple of years after he had a suboxone prescription. He kept saying sub "didn't work" for him. Towards the end of his using days, he kept trying to get into detox centers and he was turned away again and again.

When there were no other options left, no treatment centers or detoxes would take him, when he had no money and nothing left to sell or pawn, and I wouldn't let him come home, he Finally just took his suboxone as prescribed, enlisted the support of NA & AA people, and he stopped using heroin.

I had nearly given up all hope, but I have my sweetheart back now. You and B are in our prayers.

Angelo said...

DEc 11 contined post was the absolute truth. I agree 110% with it and hope you re-read it. I am very sorry your in alot or worrying right now.

Fractalmom said...

Debby. I am so sorry.

there just isn't ever an easy answer. No one invented black tar heroin. No one invented heroin. It grows in opium poppies. People have been addicted to it since the beginning of human life.

Although I accept the fact that some addicts will never be clean and must use MMT (methadone maintenence therapy) to simply LIVE, I am still not a proponent of it.

Nor do I believe that addiction is an illness - which - i know, makes me in the minority. I believe it is an incredibly STUPID lifestyle choice made one time (or two) and then WHOOOPS !! to late, they are addicted.

And, it's sad.

MMT may work for your son, but it just keeps the monster at bay. years ago, they called heroin addiction having a 'monkey on your back', because it NEVER goes away.

MMT just keeps the monkey from taking over your life and keeps you from stealing to get your fix.

I had high hopes (pardon the pun) when suboxone came out. It didn't work either, and now, they say it only works for those who don't' use alot of heroin or haven't been addicted that long.

I have known some who got clean and stayed clean using a 12 step program.

I know of some who are 'dual diagnosis' meaning they have a mental health diagnosis and it is assumed that they abuse drugs to self medicate. It is sometimes thought that if the underlying cause can be determined and treated then the addictive behavior will stop. I don't actually know of success personally, but have heard of it.

I think my daughter may have issues that led her to use. Some of them may be unrecognized depression, ADHD (a staggering 78% of undiagnosed ADHD children go on to abuse drugs, primarily either heroin or cocaine to self medicate).

And yet, sadly, once they are labeled a heroin addict, almost no one wants to help discover the underlying cause. That's not really funny. Once a heroin addict, always a heroin addict is the thinking, and I am guilty of it. It's not right, it's not fair, it is what it is. No one cares after a point. It's just another f****ed up junkie.

It is sad that when my child perhaps had feelings that indicated there was a mental health issue, she chose to keep them to herself and self medicated instead of seeking out help which was easily and readily available then.

There never is a wrong or right in being the parent of an addict.

Cheri says the only thing worse than having a child who is an addict is being an addict. I disagree. I think it's much, MUCH worse being a family member. But, that's the joy of being an individual, we can think different things and still be friends :)

I wish i had answers and peace to give you. There are none.

for a heroin addict there is

1. Using
2. Jail
3. MMT
4. Suboxone
5. Cold Turkey Detox
6. Medically assisted Detox.
7. 12 Step Program
8. Death

That's pretty much it. And it is ultimately ONLY UP TO THE ADDICT which choice they will make.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately. I'm sorry for your pain.