Monday, 2 July 2012

New Drug Worker

I MET my new druggie keyworker properly today and he seems to be OK. More than OK. Good. Very good.

We started out not on the best terms last week after he did a bonecrushing handshake on my broken fingers and then suggested we combine keyworking sessions with the "open to all" group he chairs every week. Because I have very mixed memories of clinic-run drugs groups, especially when former workers have pushed too hard and tried to force me into going, I thought Uh-oh.

Then I remembered that I have enjoyed many groups in the past, when I was in the mood to go. What I didn't like was the inconvenience of going to and from the clinic midweek. That is no longer an issue, now that I live so close.

One former worker had wanted to combine keywork sessions with her group because she didn't seem to want to be botehred to make time for me. Two other workers tried to bully me into going. So I just didn't go, except when I felt like it. Which happened to be on the weeks when I wasn't pushed into going. (Some people think I'm stubborn, but I don't think I'm any more contrary than an average person. I just don't seem to be on the outside...)

When I last went to groups my mental health was too much of a problem for me to make any progress there. One week I'd turn up hypomanic and dominate discussions by chat-chat-chatting. One particular week I remember putting in three times more input than the entire rest of the group combined. In other words it was a dialogue between me and the guy chairing it, with everybody else looking on. Then somebody did pipe up to disagree on what I considered a simple point of fact, and I was so offended I vowed never to return. Within a week my mood had switched from manic to miserable, and I didn't want to speak to anybody, so I didn't go. A week later, depression had intensified and was topped off with paranoia, so I couldn't face a room full of people. The group happened to start as my keywork session ended, so I went in for the sake of it. But the bitch invigilator insisted we pair up, interviewing whoever happened to be sat next to us. One person would pretend to be a drugs-worker and the other the client. The surly crackhead beside me, who had made it clear he was there solely to fulfill a court-ordered Drug Treatment and Testing Order and who had already been twice reprimanded for reading The Daily Mirror in-group, didn't appear to have any willingness to any sort of recovery at all. I took one glance in his direction then skedaddled out the door. And that was me and groups done with until today.

I really enjoyed today's group as it was all about me. In other words I was the only person to show up! We filled out some kind of risk-assessment sheets and I got the first of my tapering scripts: 24mg for this week; 23 for next. All being well I should be OFF METHADONE and DRUG-FREE for nearly 2013.

That's if the Mayan Calendar doesn't terminate us all in the meantime, sending computers crashing worldwide and aeroplanes dropping out of the skies.

O sorry, that was the Millennium Bug, wasn't it? You know, the bug that didn't do anything at all, but cost lots of money for large corporations to have written out of their systems.

If the world does end, I'm sure the heroin supply will dry up first. And after that the methadone supply, as the world pharmaceutical system goes into crisis.

Urban Legend has it that methadone was an innovation of the Nazi party, to keep several of the heroin-addicted German top-brass in opiates during the dark days of the Second World War. The most famous of these was Herman Goering, head of the Luftwaffe, who had been a morphine addict for years. But rumour has it that even Adolf Hitler himself was addicted to heroin. Obtaining a reliable supply of any opiate was of course very difficult, hence the introduction of methadone, a completely synthetic opioid.

According to Wikipedia, methadone never gained widespread support in Germany and the reasons are telling:

The reason for its swift abandonment as an alternative to morphine was due to the adverse effects it had on German soldiers during early trials. In contrast to morphine, which was used to alleviate pain in the injured but also to boost the esteem, stamina, and drive of German soldiers in combat, methadone had effects that have been described as such; "Dolophine (Methadone) had many adverse effects on the soldiers to whom it was given, leading to apathy, lethargy, and decreased willingness to engage in combat".

And you wonder why I complain about methadone's side effects!

I don't, by the way, believe Hitler was a junkie, or that methadone was devised as an evil Nazi plot to keep the German, or any other, population in subjugation. It is true, however, that methadone was originally patented in Germany and the patent "appropriated" (some might say stolen) by the Americans after World War II. Because methadone didn't make a particularly good painkiller, despite being an incredibly addictive opioid, it never found its way into general medical use until the  "substitution therapy" as a treatment for heroin addiction was pioneered by Dr Vincent Dole in New York in the 1960s.

The old trade name Dolophine, by the way, echoes the Latin dolor, meaning pain. Whether it was also a pun on Hitler's first name Adolph is very much a moot point...

In the UK, methadone never gained acceptance as a treatment for heroin addiction until the early 1970s. Up until that time, heroin addiction was usually treated by heroin prescription. Though the British system proved open to abuse by certain dodgy doctors such as the famous Dr Petro (Petrovski) who would write out scripts for heroin and cocaine to anybody who claimed to be addicted, the principle of treating heroin addiction with injectable heroin has been shown to be sound, with far higher success rates than for oral or injectable methadone.

For a long time I feel I wasn't even given a chance by a system that told me that if I couldn't recover on methadone syrup, I was somehow just not trying hard enough. The clinic always assumed I simply needed even more methadone, which is how the dose went past the 100mg mark, and would have gone a lot higher than the 135mg peak, if only I'd assented to yet more increases. Looking back, it's hardly surprising that treatment for addiction to one drug with another, entirely different drug should have failed. I don't feel I failed methadone, I feel methadone treatment failed me. It wasn't until autumn 2010 when the quality of the street gear fell so low that many daily-using addicts were testing opiate-negative, that methadone began to hold me properly. And I don't think it was any coincidence that around this time I had two severe mental breakdowns. The insulation that heroin put up between myself, my life, and the world was now gone, and my mind, left totally bereft, simply couldn't cope.

I'm just so glad finally to have got to the stage where methadone "works" for me enough that I can at least go days on it without climbing the walls, even if I am sweating like a rancid pig. Even if I am having to take antipsychotics to cope with the adverse effect the stuff has on my mind.

Best of all, I'm glad to be in a clinic ~ at last ~ that is willing to detox me the way I want to be detoxed. The old place were suggesting a drop from 20 to 15mg in one go. That's a 25% reduction! The same as dropping someone from 100mg to 75mg overnight and expecting them not to go crazy. Personally I'd like to see the clinic from the London Borough of Crudsville struck off the medical register. The treatment I got there was the worst in my entire life.

Anyway that's another nightmare relegated to the cesspool of the past, where it belongs.

My one ambition is to get OFF this noxious drug they insist on treating me with, to get ON with life.


Illustrated: Methadone Man and Buprenorphine Babe; stop the drug clinic! (my old one)


Here's another Like A Prayer, a very laid-back rendition from Madonna's Re-Invention tour, 2001..
This is specially for Bev, who reminded me how much I loved this song...


Elsie said...

I truly hope you get that recovery, Gledwood. I had an uncle who was on methadone for a long time. He hated being on that stuff. I wish you all the best on your journey and I hope all your groups end up being individual - just kidding of course... =)

Anna Young said...


You are very obsessive. I don't mean that in a negative way, its just a fact.

You go on and on about how wicked methadone is, and how you wish there was diamorphine clinic. In my opinion diamorphine would be a far better treatment for opiate addiction. Fact is, its not availiable and methadone is. Your 100% right, about the side effects of the methadone.

My question is, if there were a diamorphine clinic and you were a client would ever get off the diamorphine? Getting straight with heroin everday for free, and legally. Why would anyone go through the physical pain of withdrawls, and the mental anquish if you didn't have to?

I know I sure as hell wouldn't. Fuck, methadone makes me apathetic, lazy, lethargic, fat, sweaty, nodding out and burning everything without the wonderful high h gives. Even with all these side effects, I'm sticking with the methadone for a long time. I've tried over and over again to get off the shit, but I always go back to dope, and eventually methadone to straighten out.

If there were diamorphine clinics the goverment would have a cash cow. Methadone is a cash cow for the government. That's why they keep upping your dose, getting you more and more hooked.

I hope the world does end Dec. 21st. of this year. Most likely it will not. In fact I was talking with my father about the world ending and by some slight chance i was to live, I would be at the drug store first. I'm sure everyone who is addicted to opiates would be there. That's why I'd bring a gun and kill everyone who tried to take my drugs. Na, I wouldn't kill anyone. I wouldn't get just enough drugs to kill myself. I should have died with everyone else.

bugerlugs63 said...

I love that song for Bev . . She'll love it too.
Re previous post. I knew they weren't your Robos . . . I just meant if I had a better camera, I could get clearer, close up photos of my Robos. With more detail.
And yeah, their whiskers are so important to them. I could do an experiment; chop the whiskers off of one, then let him run around and see if he bangs into things . . . just joking ;-)
Glad your new drugs worker is listening to you.
Take care x

Furtheron said...

I'm sure you will get that recovery - this was such a positive post. Keep at it... btw she's still going anti-clockwise you know :-)

Gledwood said...

I wish I hadn't ranted on and on in this post. I sound like a stuck record, and I'm even starting to bore myself. And as for the mental probs, I really don't know, and cannot know what caused them. And of course there's probably NO absolute cause.

ELSIE: I hate being on it too. I find it hard to reconcile still being physically addicted, knowing I still have a massively elevated opiate tolerance... all those things... yet thinking of myself as clean. Which is a big reason I just want to get off the stuff!

ANNA: I know I'm TOO obsessive. Like the proverbial stuck record. Round and round. Same old shit, different day. I know...

IF they ever did give out diamorphine more widely than it's given now, it would have to be on the understanding that anybody who's addicted could have it (not a special few) and that if your dose goes down it can still go up again if needed, and that if a person detoxes off it and then needs it again they can have it again. If this was the way the system worked I'd be only too happy to taper diamorphine doses every day. But if they kept it as something that was hard to get scripted to, made it feel hard-won and you knew that once you came off you'd probably never get it back again no matter how much you needed it, then I'd probably want to stay on it for the rest of my life, because I'd never be willing to give something up that was that much of a privilege for the special few. That's why I believe diamorphine treatment should be available to anybody with a habit and they shouldn't have to prove some special suitability for the scheme...

They complain that pharmaceutical heroin is so much more expensive than methadone, but it's the British government who insist it can only be prescribed in the form of freeze-dried amps, and they pay about £50 per gram of neat heroin, which is only half the cost of street heroin, back in the day (£30 a gram, 50% purity). If they wanted to they could pay less. Holland pays far less for their medical heroin than we do, and diamorphine is used very widely in British medical practice, eg birthing mothers are often dosed with diamorphine as a painkiller... when gas and air isn't enough and they don't want a spinal block.

The main reason methadone is preferred is simply because it is CHEAP, and they like to think a single dose will last a person 24 hours. Yes 24 hours with the last 4 in heavy sweats, sneezing and shivering!

BUGERLUGS: yeah the new drugs worker seems pretty cool

imagine a robo with no whiskers though... that would be like a bird without wings, like a king without a crown, a rose without thorns... NO!!

FURTHERON: I still can't get spinning girl to spin anticlockwise, I don't know why, seeing as everyone else can...

As for the methadone I so can't wait to be OFF IT and to never need it again!!!!

Shay said...

The blog was veryy funny. I'm at work and laughed aloud several times - thank god the boss is out, otherwise i'd have to explain why I'm reading a blog post about methadone - anyways I believe in you. I really do. I think you will get into recovery and "get ON with life".

Go Gleddy!

Syd said...

I also hope that you will have a good life and get off the methadone. You are highly intelligent and can have a good life.

Anonymous said...

Amazing. Actually wow! For such a massive whinger
. Because when I needed your help in london you didn't return a single email of mine. You're problems only seen huge because you are forever looking in the mirror. Un-thank you for all your un-help in London when I really needed you
Mark R

Anonymous said...

Sorry that sounded Troll like as a comment and I don't want to be that and nor do you deserve that. You are writing a great blog that's all that matters, laters,
Mark R

Bev said...

You make me feel so special.Thank you for the song.I love it and the video is so pretty and beautiful.XoXokisses.

R Johnson said...

Your goal to be drug-free and completely off of Methadone is commendable and shows great strength. Medication assisted treatment with methadone or buprenorphine treatment does help many to bridge the recovery gap and should be considered as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.