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zenith

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Posts: 1,662 Member Since: 02/21/10

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Aug 2 10 10:33 AM

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Not sure where it went to, but was looking for this letter today and could not find it on the site! Weird! Lilly or Asilek do you know where we put it?  At any rate, here it is if anyone needs it--it's a letter for family members/friends who try to get you to get off methadone:


Dear Family member or Friend;

This letter will attempt to address some common concerns of those of you who have loved ones on MMT (methadone maintenance treatment). There are many misconceptions and common misunderstandings surrounding this treatment, which education and knowledge about the treatment may alleviate. Methadone, unfortunately, is surrounded by unfair stigma and prejudice based on fears and assumptions, not science and medicine. Family members quite naturally are concerned about their loved one's health and future and want the best for them, and they may have heard some things about MMT that cause them alarm.
One of the most commonly voiced concerns is that MMT is "just trading one addiction for another". Many feel that the only way to truly recover from addiction is to abstain from all mood altering substances. At one time this was thought by most to be true. However, science has discovered that with long term opiate addiction (opiates meaning heroin, vicodin, morphine, oxycontin, etc), the brain's natural production of endorphins is shut down. Endorphins are the chemicals we all have that enable us to feel pleasure and happiness. We all have opiate receptors in our brains for these chemicals to attach to. The word "endorphin" comes from "endogenous", meaning coming from within, and "morphine"--i.e., morphine from within. These chemicals are released when we eat delicious food, make love, enjoy a beautiful sunset, exercise (runner's high), or even when we are injured, as natural painkillers. Without this natural chemical, life can be very difficult and painful.

When we flood our systems with exogenous (outside) opiates, our bodies recognize that we have plenty on board and cease to manufacture our own natural endorphins. This results in the patient feeling extremely ill when withdrawing from opiates. They experience depression, irritability, exhaustion, anger, sleeplessness, hopelessness, etc. This happens to all opiate abusers when they cease taking opiates and is to be expected. Some patients, especially those with short term addiction histories, will be able, after a few weeks or months of abstinence, to get their natural endorphins back into good working order again, and will begin to gradually improve. However, for many, the damage done is permanent. This has been demonstrated in many scientific studies involving CT scans of the addicted brain. For these patients, no amount of abstinence, group therapy, meetings, will power, or good intentions will undo the fact that their brains simply will no longer produce endorphins in sufficient quantity to enable them to live a normal, happy life. This is, in fact, very similar to the way in which diabetics require supplemental insulin because their pancreas no longer manufactures insulin. In addition, there are some patients who have never had a normally functioning endorphin system, who have struggled since birth with crippling depression, and who became addicts in an effort to relieve their constant emotional and mental misery. For them, too, abstinent recovery works poorly or not at all. This is where MMT comes in.

Methadone is a synthetic (man made) opioid drug, used to treat pain and addiction. It has some unusual properties that make it well suited to addiction treatment. It is a long acting drug, remaining active in the tissues for up to 72 hours after ingestion. It does not cause the high or euphoria caused by other, short acting opiates because it is taken up gradually by the brain, not suddenly and sharply. In fact, many overdoses involving this drug are due to people seeking the high they have come to expect with other opiates and not getting it, so they take more and more. A stable methadone patient who is not mixing the medication with other drugs--particularly benzodiazepines, which can sometimes be a very dangerous mixture-- and who is on a medically appropriate dose will not be "high" or sedated. These patients are able to work, operate a vehicle, care for children, and do anything else a normal person can do. Their minds are not "clouded". Some of these rumors may come from observing patients who are abusing other drugs, or are taking more than prescribed. Methadone, properly administered and taken, balances the chemicals in the brain so that the patient feels normal. Unfortunately, standard antidepressants generally do not work well for those with dysfunctional endorphin systems because they target serotonin, not endorphins. Methadone is also unique in that it does not attach to all the opiate receptors in the brain, leaving some open to encourage production of natural endorphins if possible. This may contribute to the healing of the addicted brain. Methadone is commonly referred to as "replacement" or "substitution" therapy, and most think that this means it is replacing the heroin, etc that the patient was abusing, when in fact, it is replacing the natural endorphins no longer being manufactured by the patient's brain, in the same way synthetic insulin substitutes for that not being made by the diabetic's own organs. Methadone treatment enables the patient to return to a normal, productive, law abiding life in a great many cases, and even when the patient continues abusing other drugs, etc, it may lower their chances of contracting a disease by reducing their drug use, and enables them to see a medical professional for assistance and referrals on a daily basis.

However, for many (not all) MMT patients, long term therapy--even life long--may be needed to maintain recovery. Addiction is a chronic, incurable disease. We do not tell diabetics, blood pressure patients, and epileptics to discontinue their medications because we know that if they do, the active disease will return. Why, then, do we encourage recovering, thriving MMT patients to do so, when the relapse rates for those discontinuing MMT is greater than 90%? Methadone is the most effective modality of treatment for opiate addiction available today--far more effective than traditional rehabs and 12 step groups alone. By no means is it the treatment of choice for every opiate addict--however, if abstinent methods have failed many times over, there is little point in continuing to try the same thing expecting different results "this time".

Most experts recommend that a patient remain in MMT a MINIMUM of 3 years after they cease illicit drug use. At that time, if, and only if, the PATIENT themselves wishes to begin a taper program, one can be attempted. Tapering must be done on a slow and gradual basis--no more than 10% of the dose every 2 weeks to a month. If the person begins experiencing severe cravings or withdrawals, they should stop and return to an adequate dose until symptoms subside. If the person relapses, this should not be seen as failure or weakness, but only as evidence that they may require ongoing therapy to control their symptoms. Family support is ESSENTIAL to the patient's successful recovery on MMT, and continued questions of "When are you going to get off that stuff? It's just a crutch!", etc undermine treatment efforts and sabotage recovery, leaving the patient confused, sad and frustrated instead of feeling proud and happy at the improvements in their lives. Addiction is a deadly disease and there are few effective treatments for it, so please support your loved one's recovery efforts and praise them when you see improvements. There is nothing positive to be gained by forcing them off treatment before they are ready. 

If you would like more information about MMT, please seek out reputable sources such as WWW.SAMHSA.Gov, the American Assoc. for the Treatment of Opioid Disorders (AATOD) website, the White House Office of Drug Policy, etc.


Question Authority!

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mjmilwaukee1980

Posts: 7 Member Since:10/02/10

#1 [url]

Oct 2 10 8:24 AM

I think I'm going to show/email this to my Dad who keeps saying to me: "you don't want to go over 100mg if you can because that's to high and you need to start tapering down" when in fact I only started the program 3 weeks ago!!!!

"Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow." Doug Firebaugh

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ltomczak

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Posts: 789 Member Since:02/22/10

#2 [url]

Oct 2 10 6:53 PM

MJ:

I'm glad you found this thread - this was definitely one of the resources that I was referring to when I said there are some valuable tools on this  board that you may find helpful!

There are more where this came from but this generally is a great starting point.

My Mother used to not "like' methadone but after becoming an advocate and listening to me speak on how the body works and how the medication works, and then seeing first hand how well I have done on the medication, she has become sort of an "advocate in training" herself.

I had a boyfriend I was dating for a long time who was not supportive on MMT at all; his Mom is a head counselor at one of the popular XA-based dry spin rehabs around us and he had been raised on a very anti-MAT attitude;

I basically told him that I didn't give a shit what he thought because if he loved ME the way I am NOW he would support me on MAT, because I promise without I would not be the type of person he would want to be around Sure enough, I eventually relapsed and he got to see what I'm like as a heroin addict.

Needless to say by the time our relationship was over (we're still friends, btw) he had become supportive of MAT and he will occasionally stop by the boards every now and then. Sometimes the proof is in the pudding, so to speak...

lindsaytomcat@yahoo.com For those in and around the Chicago area - feel free to contact me if you need help with your treatment.

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ltomczak

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Posts: 789 Member Since:02/22/10

#4 [url]

Oct 6 10 3:21 PM

Mmm, pudding indeed! I prefer cookies and cream, myself! :)

lindsaytomcat@yahoo.com For those in and around the Chicago area - feel free to contact me if you need help with your treatment.

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rosetta stoned

Senior Member

Posts: 277 Member Since:11/12/10

#5 [url]

Nov 12 10 10:39 AM

This was EXTREMELY helpful to me. I just started up on MMT for the second time and doin' it the way I am supposed to; without abusing it. Which is why I am trying to get the support of my family and friends back, and I feel like this would bring them some comfort about my decisions.

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ltomczak

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Posts: 789 Member Since:02/22/10

#6 [url]

Nov 12 10 12:28 PM

Rosetta,

I'm glad you found this helpful. If you check out the links and resources section you will actually find a ton of information that may be helpful for you as well; in addition to the knowlege of so many of our wonderful posters here.

Feel free to post and introduce yourself to the bunch (not everyone always checks the stickies for new posts) and don't be shy to ask questions. I have learned so much about MAT; I had tried MAT without the knowlege I have now and while I was able to stop using it wasn't nearly as therapeutic. I know I would have been able to get to where I am today without the support and education from the people on these boards.

When you mention in your previous attemps that you were "abusing it" were you on a proper dose? Were you still experiencing cravings for opiates, or do you have issues with our drugs as well? Totally understandable if you don't want to answer these questions publicly; but knowing more about your situation may help us to point you in the right direction towards more helpful information for you and your friends/family.


lindsaytomcat@yahoo.com For those in and around the Chicago area - feel free to contact me if you need help with your treatment.

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rosetta stoned

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Posts: 277 Member Since:11/12/10

#7 [url]

Nov 12 10 9:57 PM

The last time I tried MMT it wasn't to do the deal; I simply wanted to avoid withdrawals and get high for free, and therefore boosted my dose about 60 mg more than it needed to be. I wasnt experiencing cravings, but I simply wanted to continue using heroin. This time around I actually want to stop using and I have found in my experience that nothing else has worked for me thus far. I have been to IOP, residential treatment twice, structured halfway houses and sober living houses, willpower with all the right reasons to stop, and there was no consequence or motivation that kept me from using. I fully believe that MMT is my only option and is the only treatment that I have not attempted to the best of my ability, and with the prior experience and knowledge I have about the treatment I feel that it is my last life line.

I am happy to have found this community because it really seems that most/all of you have a really good idea of what you are talking about.

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ptrsnake13

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Posts: 1,361 Member Since:11/01/10

#8 [url]

Dec 11 10 1:25 PM

I've been on it 22 years this time and though the support of families and friends is good and sometime even crucial, be true to you and don't always expect support from those who don't understand. Took me YEARS to accept and love me and not care about the rest. Good luck this time.
ptrsnake13@aol.com

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whippy witch

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Posts: 834 Member Since:02/11/11

#9 [url]

Feb 11 11 4:09 PM

Dear Zenith,

Is this letter printed somewhere?  I would love to make copies and give out to our patients as needed.

I have come from the west coast to midsouth and the difference in Methadone belief for treatment almost made me click my heels and wish to go home.  But I am here and saying these things and maybe maybe there are those that are listening.. '

BTW the poem from a methadone client was put up at one of the clinics here in OK.. and all the sudden was making its rounds to other clinics. The only author I could find was you on that poem.  So I hope it was ok to post it.

Tina

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zenith

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Posts: 1,662 Member Since:02/21/10

#10 [url]

Feb 17 11 4:33 PM

ABsolutely, Tina.


If you want to make copies of the letter, please message me privately with your email and I will send you a copiable format. 

Question Authority!

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whiterobot122

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#11 [url]

Feb 20 11 9:27 AM

Dear Zenith,
Is this letter printed somewhere?  I would love to make copies and give out to our patients as needed.
I have come from the west coast to midsouth and the difference in Methadone belief for treatment almost made me click my heels and wish to go home.  But I am here and saying these things and maybe maybe there are those that are listening.. '
BTW the poem from a methadone client was put up at one of the clinics here in OK.. and all the sudden was making its rounds to other clinics. The only author I could find was you on that poem.  So I hope it was ok to post it.
Tina

-whippy_witch


what part of OK are you from? Are you a staff member at a clinic? WOOOOHOO another Okie in the house!

haha sorry for the off topic'ness. Just like you said whippy, those letters are making their way around the clinics down here. btw I'ma  client at Southern Oklahoma TS.

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1eyejack

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Posts: 210 Member Since:03/23/10

#12 [url]

Apr 19 11 3:38 AM

Zenith
I cant believe Ive been around this site all this time and never bothered to read this "sticky"

Excellent letter that explains  many of the  misconceptions and common misunderstandings that we,re up against everyday- - Just terrific information that Im tired of repeating. I feel like making 100 copies to hand out to all that question my motives/ and or need to be on this medicine.

withrespect,
jack

"When the going gets weird the weird turn professional." — Hunter S. Thompson

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methabenzocet

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Posts: 47 Member Since:08/05/11

#13 [url]

Sep 10 11 5:43 AM

i wish my counseler at my clinic could read this letter.. She's one of those people who try and play god. And has most of the clients under her "spell" which is anything and everything she says is "politicly correct" and has this everything I say is the right way or thing to do, nothing else , kind of attitude.  The area I am in is a very high crime,drug area and A lot of the people in my MM facility are so used to living on the streets (including me at one time) and thats all we know is the streets. Unless we educate ourselves on our own desiese and get as much information about what were doing to help from different sources its hard for many people to even know whats going on with their minds and bodys. I know i was at one point clueless and would just take info from any body that worked in the field.  so anyway I just feel so bad for some of the folks in my group who are just coming ,dosing, and coming to 1 group per week where this woman runs it and basicly whatever she tells them to do, think, or say they do.  Half the time her info is COMPLETLY wrong,not a fact, or just her way , theres her way or NO way. I think this is horrible because half the people have no clue whats going on with their bodys and minds, this lady will make you think ur crazy , if u dont get a hint to talk with other counslers and get a few different points of view or suggestions. Like if I showed her this letter, she would be like ,"oh, this is wrong, bla bla. She always brings up the fact "now remember methadone is still a drug , so u guys are not sober, your still taking a mind altering substance,so remeber that, you arnt clean untill your off methadone" which i see her technical point but dont say that to a room of recovering addicts a lot of ppl including myself feel bad hearing that. Anyway I just thought this letter was so refreshing to read , and gave me some piece of mind, knowing a lot of things i think are true or at least somebody else believes the same way i do.
well have a good morning everyone <3 peace

~Kiki

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ptrsnake13

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Posts: 1,361 Member Since:11/01/10

#14 [url]

Sep 10 11 7:16 AM

Real intelligent employer to employee speech. " I get what the client pays me but you get 10$ per hour, and what I get is non of your business.  Forget the fact you don't belong here you trolling idiot but to employ people you need to get some "people" skills. JMHO

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rosetta stoned

Senior Member

Posts: 277 Member Since:11/12/10

#15 [url]

Sep 10 11 8:34 AM

Yeah seriously LOL that was the kicker "what I get is non[e] of your business" YEAH BRO YOU SOUND LEGIT WHERE DO I SIGN UP!?!?


How to successfully find employees to work under you
__________________________________________________

1. Spell words wrong.
2. Have lots of grammatical errors.
3. Sound like an ass.
4. Offer a small amount of hourly pay.
5. Be very vague about everything.

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jessika 47721

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Posts: 19 Member Since:07/27/11

#16 [url]

Nov 3 11 9:58 AM

This really helped. I read the whole thing out loud to my mom. I had been wanting to find something like this that explained the scientific part about what methadone and opiates do to the recepters in your brain. Thank you so much for posting this. I think now she finally understands.

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kittykat814790

Posts: 4 Member Since:09/10/12

#17 [url]

Sep 11 12 11:04 AM

Thanks, This really helped. I will print this out and send it to my family members and friends (that know) that im really close with to help them better understand. But 1 thing that pisses me off is my (now) ex-boyfriend broke up with me because he dont believe in methadone and wants me off it before get back together but i feel that is wrong to put me in that position because it saved my life. I am an avid believer in methadone and dont feel he should put me in that perdicament. He is 30 im 22 hes also a heroin addict. He went back to prison for 8 months and when he got out in June hes supposedly been clean. and now he has all these optinions about methadone and tells me its bad and just a replacement for heroin not any better. I know that its not true and common misconceptions but i have tried everything to show him that hes wrong...UGH! i dont know what to do...we've been together over 2 years and i love him with all my heart we were best friends for years before started dating and i dont want to loose him over it but also my recovery is #1 to me right now....I've only been on methadone 6 months tomorro and 100% clean off illicit substances only 1 month (thanks to xanex n crack) and if i get off mehtadone i will 100% relapse because im not ready yet only begining of my recovery so far. I will stay on methadone as long as i need to make sure i stay clean, but i dont want to loose Jack (my ex) hes the love of my life...But i guess if it came down to it i would have to choose my recovery first. Any suggestions?

thanks, peace, Kat

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wayovermyhead

Posts: 4,350 Member Since:07/16/11

FORUM ADMINISTRATOR

#18 [url]

Sep 11 12 3:27 PM

Well KK you ain't gonna get any argument out of me in saying that your recovery comes first....It has to be that way for it to work.  It can be so discouraging to have to fight for the cause all the time and fight the ones we love etc...but will your relationship last active addiction?  Because if you relapse I had rather lose my relationship protected my recovery then lose my relationship relapsing.....

FORUM ADMINISTRATOR
Wishing You Best In Love & Life 
wayovermyhead

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zac talbott

Senior Member

Posts: 745 Member Since:03/02/13

#19 [url]

Apr 22 13 3:59 PM

So glad this letter is posted here in the forum... I'm just now (shame on me) going through & making sure I've read all the "stickies."  I haven't seen this letter in several years, so I'm thankful that you've posted it here for everyone to see and/or use! It's a good one for sure! :-)


zt

Zac Talbott | Director & Patient Advocate

Together we can make a difference!

Visit NAMA Recovery's We Speak Methadone (and buprenorphine) Forums
and/or the Methadone & Buprenorphine Discussion group on Facebook

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paulocau

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Posts: 22 Member Since:09/14/13

#20 [url]

Sep 26 13 11:01 PM

I really like this letter.I think it's fantastic for anyone finding themselves on methadone.in my experience, all heroin users would say methadone is terrible and so much worse than heroin addiction.one day I was sitting with 2 ladies of the night whilst we a ''fixed''..I watched one girl searching for 45 minutes to find a vein.at the same time,I was thinking about more heroin as the sickness was of course imminent.. so,I looked around and said ''I'm going to get on methadone''..everyone starts with the ''oh no,methadone is the devil'' speech to which I said ''it can't be any worse than this''..so I got on it and successfully weaned off with no pain. The methadone immediately stabilised my life and all those users around me went ''wow,that stuff really works,huh''..they all went to the clinic and started treatment..it really does work if someone really wants to stop heroin and retake control of their life..10 years later my two little brothers were killed in a car crash and a cpl years ago i awoke to find my wife had died of an undiagnosed heart condition in the night.again,I turned to heroin but almost straight away,went to a doctor and was put on suboxone...but that's another story..

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