Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

To provide a better understanding of the very important role methadone plays in the treatment of addiction.
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 Tale of Two Clinics...

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Number of posts : 13
Location : Boston, MA
Job/hobbies : I love animals and all arts/crafts.
Humor : silly/ironic
Registration date : 2009-12-23

PostSubject: Tale of Two Clinics...   Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:42 pm

I had been on the same clinic for 18 years and was very productive and highly functional. Last winter, a newly hired monitor began timing my supervised urine screens. I've always been a little shy but for 18 years managed to accomplish my mission. I was a client in good standing, with maximum take home doses and never a waring or problem of any sort. After asking my clinic therpaist about this new timing thing, she told me that they had changed procedure, and that would be part of the new system. The new system very quickly caused me a great deal of anxiety, but my clinic therpaist assured me that "everything would be fine". By the end of May, I could not produce a urine in the never quoted, allotted time period. When I asked how much time I had, they would never tell me. They would just inform me that if I could perform the test fast enough, I would lose my take homes, and that I was taking too much time. I lost my take homes after 18 years, and started having severe panic attacks whenever I went to that clinic. I quickly tried to detox because the thought of having to go to that place scared me more than the detox. I finished that clinic (ATCNE/Brighton,MA) last September and quickly realized that my life was worthless without methadone. I have suffered with serious depression as far back as I can recall. I also have chronic pain and sleep issues. The only medication that has ever helped me was methadone. I started at another clinic in Nov. (N. Charles/Somerville, MA). I'm on disabilty for severe depression, agoraphobia, pain... Staring a new clinic was extremely difficult, as my life had been so well arranged. I am an artist and jeweler and for 18 years, I was able to produce at least one new piece of art a day in my home. I know a lot of the work I did may have had no meaning for anyone else, but I did have a certain number of people who always enjoyed my work. I have not created anything since last May and have never felt so hopeless about the future. I thought that getting on another clnic would be difficult enough, but I never imagined that once I conquered that obstacle, I would discover that it's not as easy as it used to be to get your dose raised to an appropriate level. I've been taking methadone for such a long time that I am well aware of the dose range I need to be in to function. Unfortunately for me, the doctor is relatively new, young, and inexperienced in this field. Since last May my entire life has seems to have lost all meaning, and I feel as though it's basically time to give up. I still don't understand what that timing thing was about. The therapist I had on the previous clinic told me that unfair things happened there all the time, this time they were just happening to me. It's been so long since I've been in a situation like this, that I have no idea where to go to buy methadone, and that's the one thing that helps me. I haven't done heroin in 20 years and don't want to start that again. I never thought I'd see the day when I wouldn't be able to get the help I need at a clinic. By the way, I was not the only client affected by the new urine screening procedures at the previous clinic. Having been there so long, I have heard of a number of other clients (long-term like myself) being treated in an inhumane and humiliating fashion. We are the first senior citizens on long-term methadone maintenance. Shouldn't there be some consideration for clients who are older and really are "lifers"? Do we always just have to take whatever miserable treatment they feel like imposing on us?
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Number of posts : 863
Age : 46
Location : live in Louisiana but attend MMT clinic in Tx
Job/hobbies : COUPONING & GEOCACHING are my favorite past times but I also love reading and spending time with my husband and kids
Humor : I don't have a sense of humor.............
Registration date : 2009-05-25

PostSubject: Re: Tale of Two Clinics...   Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:46 pm

Hi there! My name is RuthAnn and I moderate for the forum. (You may remeber me from the welcome email I sent when you joined) I have also been on methadone for over 9 yrs now.

First of all, let me say thank you for sharing your story with us. It isn't always an easy thing to do and takes courage to speak out.

I am so sorry to hear about what has happened to you. It makes me so angry and I feel so frustrated and helpless when I read stories like this and realize how much we are at the mercy of the clinic!

In the 9 yrs I have been on MMT, I have only had experience w/2 clinics, but I have not heard of a time limit to give a urine sample. I have seen ppl sit out in the lobby and wait until the could give one, but not an actual time limit on how long you could spend in the bathroom. Again though, I haven't had much experience with that kind of thing. It is just awful that you were there for 18 yrs and this is the way it ended up.

As far as not getting on a comfortable dose now, that DOES NOT surprise me AT ALL! I have been dealing with that situation now myself for over a year and while I have finally found a clinic and a doctor that seems to actually listen to me and did give me a 10mg increase (I had been on 120mg for over 5 yrs and my old clinic refused to go over even after a peak and trough that showed my levels were too low) I am still having issues with trying to get another increase. I have had to have an ekg and they are talking about making me come in more frequently (I have once a month visits right now) so they can evaluate my "need" for an increase. So it is a struggle for MANY of us to get the right dose we need. Again, you would figure the fact that we have been on MMT for so long and have been "model" pts would account for something but it doesn't seem to matter.

As far as the depression from being on too low of a dose, I understand there too. Depression is what led me to abuse drugs in the first place and it is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember, even as a child of 9 or 10 yrs old. It is SO much worse when you are on too low of a dose of methadone and having withdrawal symptoms along with the depression. It is horrible and at times unbearable to the point where you wish you could just curl up and die. Especially when it seems there is no solution to your problem. I know it doesn't make it any easier to deal with for you to know that there are others out there that know where you are coming from or where you are at, but PLEASE know that we are here for you.

Other than getting a stable dose, is that the only problem you have with the new clinic? If so, there are some steps you can take to get an increase even if the clinic won't give you one. Of course even though they aren't suppose to retaliate against you for things like that, sometimes it only makes things worse rather than better so you would have to decide if that is what you really want to do.

If you don't mind me asking, what dose are you on now? What dose were you on when you started detoxing at the other clinic? Have they done a peak and trough test on you yet at the new clinic? Are they denying your requests for an increase now?

It sometimes feels like the clinics set us up to fail. They are all willing to take our money and willing to help "in any way they can" until you get to a certain dose.They get you up to such a high dose where you can't get off as easily so you won't be quitting, but when you need an increase, they aren't willing to help. It is so frustrating because if you are having trouble w/you dose, they know that eventually you are going to be forced to do something stupid but THEY DON'T CARE! You are forced to suppliment your methadone with other opiates and fail drug tests or if you can purchase the methadone you need illegally to get you at a stable dose, you run the risk of arrest and other problems there. That is what you went into treatment for to begin with to keep you away from that kind of stuff!

You know, you could still file a complaint against your other clinic if you wanted to. You can check out our website at and you will find all the info you need to file your complaint.

I have rambled on long enough now, but I just want you to know I am here for you......WE are here for you and if there is anything I may can do to help you out or make things easier for you, PLEASE don't hesitate to let me know. That is what we are here for and my heart goes out to you. You can contact me through the private message feature in the forum or if you still have my welcome email, my personal email address should be in it.

Again, please hang in there. You have gone too far with your recovery to fail now.

aka lilgirllost

We are not bad people trying to become good, we are sick people trying to become well.

Methadone; A Flicker Of Light In The Dark
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