Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Why didn't you like medication-assisted treatment? Do you have to be abstinent to be in recovery? Why is the anti-Suboxone crowd so angry?
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Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by jennjenn » Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:57 am

Well I was going to post this last week because that’s when I found out about it, but I was so frustrated and I’ve learned that never post when you’re angry. Always wait to post when you’re more levelheaded :)

I was at my clinic last week two different days, one was to attend a meeting and then the next day to see my doctor. I kept hearing chatter about the clinic moving and meetings happening with the city. Finally I asked what was happening because my clinic has grown so much over the years, I knew we’d been trying to move to a bigger space.

Apparently we had a new location and the location was bought or leased (I don’t know every detail). Suddenly the city blocked the move because the businesses around our new location complained so much that we were told the clinic couldn’t move to that particular location! This isn’t the first time either, several years ago we tried to move and the exact same thing happened then. We couldn’t move locations because of so many complaints from the neighbor businesses.

This is still happening! Judgmental people who think if a suboxone clinic moves into their area crime rate will rise lol or God forbid addicts walk through their parking lot or even worse near their car!! Omg we may accidentally touch one of them and spread the addiction around! Please!

My area is a battle. You have so much addiction happening but you also have the close minded ppl who think the only recovery option is church and anything else is just addicts still trying to use. It’s unfair and disappointing that this is still happening. My clinic was talking about adding an inpatient area, something my area needs so bad, but now it’s not going to happen. It’s just so frustrating.
Jennifer

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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:11 am

Ugh!! I'm sorry and I am not trying to put down the South. But I am so glad I don't live there!!

Southern people and places can be the kindest and most welcoming, but also the most judgmental and small minded! (I hate small-mindedness in all of its forms!) I know that there are northern states like Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas where people are small-minded too. God forbid a new idea ever pops up there. But nowhere is it more systemic than in the South.

My doctor helped start a methadone/suboxone clinic in Denver. The location happened to be near a Denver high school. Well, there was a bit of an uproar. My doctor went to a town hall type meeting to explain what the clinic was all about and what their rules would be, etc. For example, the clients are forbidden to loiter near the clinic. They have to vacate the premises inside and out after they've dosed and done their meetings/counseling. So no one who used the clinic's services would be stumbling around outside because they were there to get proper treatment. I'm sure there were some that were still skeptical, but the clinic opened as planned. Because most people here will take a rational approach to decision making.

Jen, I hate what you are describing. I hate that your clinic is going through this. You would think that if the clinic makes the case that crime hasn't gone up in their area and that a certain percentage of clients (for example) have found gainful employment, that would make a difference! Apparently not.

I know that I am stereotyping an entire region of the country and I know that it isn't everyone who lives there. I think, however, that ignorance tends to proliferate there. There is ignorance everywhere of course, but in this case ignorance breeds judgment. So the same neighbor who would give anyone the shirt off his back, will turn his back on you for being an addict, or gay, or any other segment of society that he deems lesser. It really pisses me off on behalf of all of the addicts who live and die in the South.

None of us deserve to be treated this way! They would probably run their own family out for being an opioid addict, all while insisting that recovery has to equal abstinence. Ignorant!

Amy
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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by jennjenn » Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:19 pm

The South is very judgmental imo. I live in the Bible Belt where everyone thinks church is the answer. I believe in God and I go to church sometimes but I’ve also met some ppl that are in church every Sunday and the very same ppl who are horrible human beings. Some of those ppl wouldn’t help a person in need if they tripped over them and THOSE are the very ppl who love to judge ppl, especially addicts. It makes me sick and I see it every single day. Now don’t get me wrong, I know these ppl exist everywhere and not just the south and I don’t want to offend anyone but I’m just calling it as I personally see it.

You know what though, I have to say that some ppl who get their suboxone treatment paid for with insurance and go sell their suboxone on the street, these ppl aren’t helping that stigma against this medication. All these other ppl who judge this medication see ppl getting arrested for having illegal possession of suboxone, they see newspaper articles about the big drug bust on the corner with all kinds of suboxone they were selling. They see suboxone wrappers on the ground in Walmart parking lot or the mall or the gas stations...... how do we expect change when others aren’t helping the problem? I’m not excusing these close minded a-holes but that kind of behavior is not helping the problem either. It’s really frustrating.

I also understand that if some these clinics would be more strict this may not happen as often (people able to go out and sell their whole script). It can be a vicious cycle. The ppl doing right and following the rules who have truly changed their life with the help of this medication, we are the ones being judged and it sucks. It just drives me crazy!

In my clinic, if someone isn’t doing right and there for the wrong reasons, they’ll get discharged quick. I get it, ppl still in active addiction are trying to make money by selling their medicine, there’s also ppl who can’t afford to go to the doctor and they buy the medicine off the street. It’s just a cycle here in my area and it isn’t taken as serious as it should be and that is what causes all the stigma and judgment. We all know that close minded a-holes are just looking for anything to judge ppl on anyway because they obviously think they are perfect. It isn’t as easy to avoid addiction these days though because I bet almost everyone has someone in their family who suffers with addiction.

So yeah, this is some of the things I always have on my mind. One thing I do know 100% is, that this medication and treatment saves lives and if Mrs. Robinson next door doesn’t believe in it then so what, at least Jennifer across the street is still alive and bk to living a normal life again :)
Jennifer

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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by jennjenn » Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:27 pm

I apologize for being a Debbie downer with this topic, it’s just hard sometimes when you’re being judged after you know you’re doing what is best. At the end of the day, this medication is a miracle, it truly is. It’s crazy how each area can be different. Across the world, they get this medication for free, across the US from me it’s very open and accepted, in my area it’s probably split down the middle....... but we have to just keep on doing what we can to bring more positive awareness. Ok I’ll hush :)
Jennifer

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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by razor55 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:00 pm

No need to apologize Jen, not at all. Im going to say this with a wide brush. Again as before, The public here in this country does not believe that people with a SUD should be taking drugs to get off drugs. Drug for a drug type thinking. It has nothing to do with where you live, your profession, your believes, DR, Lawyer, mailman, sales rep, barber, etc.. the fact is we will ALWAYS be in an uphill battle with stigma. This stigma is buryed so deep in the hearts and minds of Americans that it may never go away. North East South and West . Sure, there could be small pockets .....Aaah, uno, no there arent even small pockets. It is just that some people are more accepting. Or they are willing to listen. I can tell you from my time in DDU group and talking with family members in Bupe group that once you have a sit down with these folks and explain just How the med works and show them how members are triving, then maybe you can change there minds. As all of you know, this medicine will only work if you want it to longterm.. so..we can be angry. Ticked off at our clinic mates who cheat up or sell. Who arent ready yet. All we can do is show them that it is possable to live a good clean life. As Dr. J once wrote ; Clean Enough !!!! Keep plugin away whereever you may live........... Razor 60

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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:00 pm

I think that education is the only thing that change the hearts and minds of people. But at least some of the people who are most judgmental also don't believe scientific principles. "I know what I know and those elitists up in the northeast ain't gonna tell me any different!"

It's like people enjoy wallowing in their own ignorance!! I find it appalling. You can't expect someone who believes that dinosaurs co-existed with humans because the Bible says so, to care about the distinctions in treating opioid addiction.

I grew up in the church too, but reasoning and science were highly important to the people who sat next to me in the pews. One didn't have to displace the other.

Anyway, I get so much why you are frustrated, Jen. I really do.

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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by jennjenn » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:38 am

Thank you guys, it helps me vent about it because I just got so frustrated. I also get extremely frustrated with other addicts that are taking advantage of selling their medication and helping the stigma live on, that really gets me. It’s crazy though because I know I did the same thing with Xanax, I’d go get a big script of it every single month just to go out and sell every bit to buy opiates..... so I did what what I’m angry about but with different medicine. I can’t help but wanting to scream at these ppl and say 'Look at what you’re passing up! This is a life saving medication and you aren’t even giving it a chance! And you’re giving ppl more ammunition to judge us so STOP!' I don’t know, I just want everyone to see what we see & it’s hard to not be able to get it through to everyone.

You’re right Razor, sitting ppl down and explaining how the medicine works and how it saves lives, it can change things and I’ve seen my own dad change his views on it. It just takes time but it is absolutely possible. I guess that’s what we need to do, just take it on with one person at a time if we have to. I should tell my doctor that he needs to have a few patients go speak at these 'meetings’. That may help.

Amy, I’m so glad I could vent to ya about this, it truly truly helps! Thank you sooooooo much!!
Jennifer

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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:41 am

It is high on my list of frustrations too, Jen. And you don't have to thank me, because I'm here for you to help with whatever you need. I've received a ton of support here from others, especially you, and I'm happy to return the favor.

Speaking of you all supporting me, I wanted to update whoever reads this about my internship hunt. As many of you know, I had an internship that I was really excited for fall through. For some reason, the site dropped me like a hot potato! It was pretty devastating.

Well, my addiction doctor went to bat for me! He went to the methadone/suboxone clinic that he helped start and told them that I would be the perfect candidate to intern there! He got me the interview and I did the rest. But they were very open to me because of him. I am exceedingly grateful!

Here are the details. My official internship starts in January and they want me there full time. This means that I will still graduate with my masters degree in May 2018, which was when I would have graduated had I gotten the fall internship that fell through. Starting this coming Wednesday, when I will have my orientation, I will be at one of the three clinics part time to shadow other counselors and learn the job fully. That way I will be able to hit the ground running in January.

They plan on building me up to a full caseload of clients quickly. I'm hoping that, since I will have a full caseload, they will want me to stay past the internship. I did hear them mention that they need a new counselor at the clinic I will be interning at. These clinics are to treat opioid addiction with methadone and some suboxone. It's definitely for addicts that need some structure beyond office based treatment. I felt like the executive director and the assistant director think the exact same way as I do, with one of their goals being advocacy. I'm really excited for this Wednesday to get here.

I thank all of YOU for your support and a boost in my self-confidence.

Amy
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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by razor55 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:31 pm

Well thats some great news Amy. You will see and learn so much being in this mix of people and clinic setting. Its a different world. Large an plenty of others who need your understanding. You ll bring so much to the table by just being you. Let me tell ya, there are the pros and there are people like US who KNOW what our type of recovery means. Im sure you ll have your hands full, but as a suggestion, Maybe you could start a group there. Your a leader with much to shair and teach. Thoses of us wwho have known you over the years here know what you can do. It s time thoses in front of ya see it too.. Jenn, the only way I stay sane of the diversion of Bupernorphine is knowing that many of thoses taking it on the street are safer just by taking it. Many come to CR here after seeing how well suboxone works for them. SOOOO.. the news isnt All bad, but ya, the number one stagma causing action is the med on the street. People without ins are also number 1 in buying said med. 99% of folks arent looking for bupe to get high on. imo... so...Just some tthoughts on a football sat... Hey Jenn , Did ya watch my Mountianeers beat the Vols last month??? raz

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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by jennjenn » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:09 am

Razor, the Vols got beat?!? Lol I’m not a big sports watcher but I do know that the Vols haven’t been doing as well as they did years ago. I really stopped paying attention when Payton Manning left and that’s been YEARS ago. But you better believe that if you go to a restaurant here on a Saturday there’s going to be a Vols game on in the background. People are very serious about that here and I bet it’s like that where you are too! I have a feeling my area and your area are very very similar in a lot of ways!

You’re right Razor, I wish ppl that see suboxone sold on the street, I wish they’d understand that addicts are buying it to keep from getting sick. We know that but I don’t expect others who don’t know anything about this medication to understand it, they’ll just come to their own conclusions I guess. Also, buying it on the street is the only way some ppl who can’t afford the treatment, it’s the only way they can obtain it. A vicious cycle.

Amy, good luck with this new internship! I told ya the other one that fell through would end up being a blessing in disguise because something better was in store. I think this could be that blessing.
Jennifer

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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by jjsmommy3313 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:10 pm

Congrats to you, Amy! That is awesome to hear, and you definitely deserve it. I'm sure you will be an asset to the clinic!

As far as narrow-mindedness is concerned,living in the South and being in MAT certainly has it's drawbacks. I am fortunate to have a good doctor that cares about his patients, and will go above and beyond to help us anyway he can. The real problem lies within the rest of the population, recovering addicts included.

Suboxone is considered a "crutch"; I've also heard that even legitimate, non-abusive use of it is only "trading one drug for another", which I've heard come out of my mother's mouth before. That's just one reason no one in my family has any idea that I'm in Suboxone therapy. The ignorance of Suboxone is sad and discouraging at times. Even fellow AA members look down on those of us in MAT, because we aren't "truly clean".

It may not be only a Southern thing, but I do happen to live in Central Georgia. If people only knew about what Suboxone has done for me, for us... It can and has saved SO many lives, including mine.
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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by Amy-Work In Progress » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:52 pm

Thank you! I really appreciate you saying that!

I LOVE my internship because I love the people I work with and I'm fond of the clients too! Our clients must be accountable, but they are always treated with respect and kindness. Many of them say that our methadone/suboxone clinic is the best in town (there are around 10) because we really care. For some of them it's the first time they've felt respected in a long time.

There is an overwhelming amount of ignorance in the general public. I suppose my response to hearing that MAT is just one drug replacing another would be that they need to look at the behavior of the addict once they go on buprenorphine. Are they behaving like an addict now? Or is there a marked difference in how they are living? The proof of MAT's efficacy is in the addict's behavior. Isn't that what matters?

Thanks again for your encouraging words!

Amy
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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by jennjenn » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:40 am

Jjsmommy I live in Tennessee so I’m your neighbor in a way :)

I don’t necessarily think that the stigma and close mindedness about suboxone is just in the south BUT I do think it can be worse in some places in the south. The south is a big place and I’m sure there’s places that are very supportive of MAT but where it starts to get more narrow is smaller towns especially the Bible Belt. I think there’s stigma and judgmental ppl everywhere but the south definitely has more seems like.
Jennifer

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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by jonathanm1978 » Thu Oct 17, 2019 6:00 am

I travel a good distance for my appointment, albeit only once every 3 months, but I see where the clinic is located and the area isn't a great one.. here in Central Alabama, we deal with people stealing everything they can, but the issue here is meth (and heroin in the last 2-3 years)..

There have been 3 calls in the last 2 years for OD that my dept has ran. None were saved with Narcan...it was too late.
But, it's becoming more common to hear the ambulance service on my radio running calls in the next city over for OD...I'd say at least 2-3 a week..and it's increasing. Loved one comes in, finds addict unconscious, not breathing, and the calls go out...
That's usually when the truth comes to light. I posted about one the other day..where the family is trying to hide the real reason for the girls death..but I know for a fact that the medic pushed Narcan in the ambulance and ONLY then was a faint pulse detected. The family said a tox screen was clean when it was done at the hospital... so someone, somewhere is not being honest. And I know it aint the medical professionals who brought her back (even though it was too late, b/c she had been down for 30+ minutes without a heartbeat)....

I guess for this area, it won't ever change. Possibly some changes will be forced, but not voluntarily... Things will still be this way in 30 years, and families will still talk about those thieving addicts..but don't want to do much to change anything, especially if it affects their comfort zones.
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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by jennjenn » Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:55 am

I just found out that the city has passed a new whatever saying that no suboxone clinics can be within the city limits. We’re in the city limits but if we ever relocate (we’re ok now because we were here in the city limits before the rule was passed) we have to be outside the city. I was looking at some pictures of one of my now coworkers and it was from that city council meeting and there were literal signs that said 'Keep Suboxone Clinics Out of our City' and these were officially made signs like some politicians have when running for some office. It is ridiculous!!

At this very meeting, someone that works at a neighboring business had a picture on his phone that supposedly showed a urine cup in a ripped open bag of garbage next to a dumpster.... this was supposed to be from our clinic BUT the urine cup in the picture wasn’t the kind our clinic uses. It was a complete fake picture and our lab personnel was at this same meeting to challenge these liars. Nothing positive happened though, that rule was still made and we had literally got to the day of signing the lease for our new location but the powers that be made sure it’ll never happen. I don’t understand why people are so against this treatment other than being uneducated about it and know nothing about it.
Jennifer

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Re: Treated like outcasts...... Still!

Post by jonathanm1978 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:54 pm

Jenn, haven't you heard...ignorance rules the day now. Instead of listening to people who are wise and have been around quite a few years, our politicians prefer to turn to kids who act on emotions instead of wisdom...and not just that..they act impulsively on emotions without thinking of the repercussions involved.
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