Methadone Maintenance"Dear Doctor"LetterDextoxification  MethadoneWithdrawal
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You can call it withdrawal because it is what you have chosen instead of choosing ------"Medical Assisted Treatment."  If you decided you wanted to stop using, but you chose  not to use methadone - then I am happy for you.  I will posting material that I hope will help you along the way.  I think it is just great for you if you have chosen on your own.  I have confidence in your abilities especially if you are young and have not been using long.  We are here, too, if you have questions.

Next, we will be discussing withdrawal.  Withdrawal in the form of Administrative Detoxification -- withdrawal you have not chosen, but we will discuss withdrawal you have chosen and how to achieve it with very minute pain and suffering.  I want to explain the rules and regulations governing "Administrative Detoxification."  You need to be aware of them if you are taking methadone.  I have started with an article for a person that chooses to do it by themselves.  I want to give them a few pointers, of course it is much easier to just gradually withdraw from the medication by a slow taper but maybe not for us all. 

Please read and see if you have any questions?  Please feel free to call us with any questions you have.  We are here to help twenty-four hours every day therefore you will never be alone and of course not if you have access to a computer. The remainder of you if you have questions before I can get all the information posted -please give us a call at our expense. We can be reached at  (770) 527-9119 if it is an absolute emergency.


People often go along to a drugs agency
in the hope of finding an easy solution
to their drug problem.
                              This is a mistake!                                     There are no easy solutions.                     The majority of people stop using without any help.                               Addiction to smoking is just as difficult to give up as addiction to heroin, but the majority of people stop smoking without any help.                                                         

Drugs agencies are thought to be in contact with between 10% and 25% of all heroin users. The rest stop using drugs without any help whatsoever. When the U.S. Army was fighting in Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of soldiers became addicted to heroin. When they returned to the U.S.A., the vast majority gave up heroin without any help whatsoever, while a small number of people find that it is harder to stop using, unless they are physically removed to a place where they cannot get drugs.

This may be an option for you to consider, but if you do, remember, you still have to face the situation back in the real world when you do get out.
Ultimately, nobody else can do your detoxification for you.

Some people find that support from a drugs worker can be helpful during a detoxification.
  Other people's experience is that they are a bunch of know-nothing do-gooders who are about as much use as a blocked needle or a packet of wet skins.

There are also other drawbacks associated with attending a drugs agency. They expect you to attend for regular appointments. You can expect to run into other drug users, possibly even dealers, and most drugs agencies keep records of your name, address and date of birth.

In some cases, these are passed on to the Home Office and kept on a register.

If you decide to use a drugs agency, remember to ask about their recordkeeping and confidentiality policies. Ultimately, whether you decide that you want support from a drugs worker or not, the only person who can stop using drugs is YOU. However, the greatest obstacle to your success is fear. This booklet aims to try and remove some of the mysteries that surround drug detoxification, by explaining what will happen, we hope to make you your own expert. You take the credit for success, and the responsibility for your own continued use.Before you...»»  


Before you make the decision to detoxify, there are several questions that you should try to answer for yourself:

Who are you stopping for? In order to succeed in your attempt to stop using drugs, you have to genuinely want to stop. Not for your parents, not for your wife, not for the court or the probation officer, but for yourself. Of course, all those other people may play a role in making you want to stop. If you are upsetting your parents, if your wife is about to leave you, or you stand a good chance of being sent to jail, that may well make you tired of using drugs.

However, for many people, it doesn't. If you aren't really sure about it, perhaps you should think about other options.  Some people find it is easier if they attempt  to stabilize their drug use before giving up. If you feel that this may be a better option   for you, then talk it over with a friend or a drugs worker. If you do attempt to stop using drugs before you really want to, you may be setting yourself up to fail. After several failures, you may lose confidence in your ability to succeed, which can lead you to stop trying.

So try to be clear about what it is that you really want, and if you do want to continue using drugs, then focus on trying to reduce the harm associated with your drug use. Drug use has both positive and negative aspects to it. Everybody who uses drugs experiences both. People usually only stop when they are aware that the negative aspects outweigh the positive ones.

Some people are aware that the negative consequences of their drug use are great, but are still unable to make the decision to stop using drugs. This may be because the positive benefits that they gain from using are even greater, or it maybe simply because they haven't thought clearly enough about the consequences.

Here is a list of some of the positive and negative aspects of drug use:

Positive

Drugs make you feel good.

Drug use helps you gain acceptance among friends.

Drugs give you something to do.

Everybody you know uses drugs

Drugs make you feel more confident.

Drug use makes you feel free to be who you want to.

Negative

Drugs may be bad for your health.

Drug use may upset your family and friends.

Drug use can get in the way of the other things that you want to do.

Drug use is against the law.

Continued drug use can damage your self-image.

Dependence upon drugs can negatively shape the way that you see yourself .

Before you decide to give up, make a list of the positive and negative aspects of your own relationship with drugs.  Then you can see whether or not you think stopping would be a good idea. 

What drugs are you using?

Just as different drugs have different effects, so the attempt to stop using various drugs has very different results. Make a list of the drugs that you are currently using and try to think about which ones might be causing you a problem. Remember, you can lie to parents, employers, teachers, partners and friends, you can even lie to yourself ; but given that you are only doing this detox because you want to, what would be the point?

Some drugs are quite definitely addictive. This means that when you attempt to stop using them, you might experience physical withdrawal symptoms as well as psy-chological craving. The drugs that fall into this category include opiates like heroin and methadone, benzodiazepines like Valium® and Xanax®.

If you find that you use more than two types of addictive drugs regularly, then you will probably find it easier if you seek professional help with your detoxification. If you are just using one of the addictive drugs or one addictive drug and one or more of the non-addictive drugs, then you may well be a good category for a do-it-yourself detoxification.
What is your...»»  

What is your source of supply?

 If you are dependent on drugs that are
prescribed by your physician, then you
have an ally in your detoxification pro-
ject.  Talk over your plans with him and
let them know what you are planning to
do.  With some drugs like heroin, it may 
be unwise to attempt to stop without
medical supervision.          

                                                            

Both drugs can cause severe fitting when they are withdrawn, and deaths have been caused by barbiturate withdrawal so it is not a good idea to attempt to stop immediately.

With the barbiturates, it is usual to change over to phenobarbital before attempt-ing a gradual reduction, where as with the benzodiazepine, it is usually best if the prescription is changed to diazepam.

If you are dependent upon an opiate,then many people find it helpful tochange over to either methadone or dihydrocodine (DHC or DF118) for detoxification. Again, if you are receiving your supplies from a doctor or a clinic, talk your plans over with them. They can help you by rationing your supplies for you. during the course of your detoxifcation, and by offering more flexible options should you experience difficulty with your plans.

If you are dependent on black-market drugs such as heroin or cocaine,you may find  it difficult  to persuade a doctor to prescribe for you. This can be a good thing, as if you go on a script, it can make it too easy to continue using for  a long time.  Once again, it is crucial to stress that you need to know  what you want.  If you want to stop using, then it may be easiest to attempt a home detoxification. 

Should you find it too difficult, then you can always seek help from a doctor or drug agency afterwards.  If you wish to continue using, a visit to a drugs agency you may well benefit from it to discuss ways of stabilizing your drug use or re-ducing the risks that you run across.

Modified:  July 4, 2005                                       Deborah Shrira RPH,CMA

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