Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Government Cuts Hit Local Drug Services

We all know the state of the country's finances..!

Greedy politicians have systematically fucked the UK up the ass since time immemorial, but over the last few years things have gotten worse.

There are cases going through court now, politicians claiming 'expenses' they are not entitled too.. evidently £80,000 a year isn't enough!
A politician went to prison just today for claiming expenses for a house he didn't even live in!

Add this to the bankers loaning and mortgaging the public with money that doesn't exist, and the government borrowing money that doesn't exist, the UK national debt now stands at a trillion pounds!
We are paying £120,000,000 (that's 120 million pounds) a day just in interest!

Long and short of it, we're fucked!
local authorities are having they're budgets cut drastically and the services being hit the hardest are grass roots and community organisations, hospitals, charities, police and fire services and DRUG SERVICES!

Unemployment has hit record levels, people are loosing they're properties and assets yet they're cutting funding to essential services that help people in desperate situations like the citizens advice bureau.

Personally, I can't find a job, no matter how many interviews I go to, and we are struggling!

Recently my psychiatrist that I've seen for years, and had a great relationship with, told me she's leaving work.
She was the consultant at my local Specialist Addiction Unit.

Budget cuts meant the hospital had decided to merge the alcohol and drugs units, and they wanted her to take a new role overseeing the whole department. No longer seeing patients and basically managing everything.
She decided it wasn't for her, and gave notice.

At my last appointment with her we were discussing upping my MST dose, and she had no problem with it, we decided I would try another week at 180mg twice daily and if I couldn't manage we would increase the dose.

When I went for my next appointment I discovered that I no longer get to see a real doctor, I now have a 'key worker'..
Basically someone with no qualifications and little experience in the addiction field who has power over me and my treatment.. I was getting flashbacks of the incredible incompetence I experienced at 'Addaction/lifeline' - our local Drug Dependency Unit..  (The name changes every year when the contracts are issued... the only thing that changes is the name, and a lick of paint)

I left Addaction years ago, sick of the endless stream of useless 'key workers' and demanded a referral to the hospitals SAU, but that's a whole other story!

Anyway, basically, my 'key worker' (hell, I'm probably more qualified to do her job than her with my NVQ3 counselling diploma and drugs awareness certificates), has absolutely no power to make a decision regarding my medication and treatment so now has to take it to the team... (a weekly meeting of doctors and key workers)
I've been waiting nearly three weeks now for a decision, I ended up having to meet with the new consultant to get it a 20mg increase!

I was hoping the MST would help with cravings as well as withdrawals but the dose im on barely keeps me well...

Now I understand I'm just another junkie, and most people probably don't see addiction services as the highest priority when it comes to hospital budgets, but we are people too, and we deserve equal treatment..

I have and always will fight for my rights as a patient, it seems sometimes these 'drug services' go out of they're way to stop you getting on with your life, it's difficult to hold a job down when your on daily pick up at the chemist or have to go to a counsellor every two weeks, then see your GP just to get a methadone script!

These services are set up for your average 'junky' - Im talking about the ones that shoplift and mug old ladies for they're drug money.
If you decide you want to provide for yourself, hold down a job and contribute to society it seems they will put as many barriers in the way they possibly can.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Top Blogs

Go check them out and give some love... active addiction is hell, people always see us as narcissistic and selfish.
It's no party trust me...




Sunday, 15 May 2011

Using Ibogaine With Different Opiates

Using Ibogaine for detox from differing opiates

  • I'm writing this piece in response to questions around the suitability of Ibogaine detox from short acting opiates like heroin vs long acting like methadone and subutex.

  • I would like to make it clear that in no way am I a professional in the field, I'm writing only from my personal experience and what seems to be the general consensus from various forums and mailing lists composed of Ibogaine users and treatment providers.

My blog was recently used in a thread on the suboxone forum as evidence that Ibogaine doesn't work for long acting opiates like Suboxone or Methadone.
The person quoting me (without my permission) and also by the way had no personal experience of Ibogaine was arguing that Ibogaine has no effect on PAWS and cravings and that it only postpones the inevitable withdrawals.

It is generally accepted that Ibogaine is much more effective for treating SAO's like heroin, it's also true that most treatment centres (any that genuinely care anyway) advise people switch to a SAO for at least a month before treatment.
This doesn't mean Ibogaine does not work for LAO's like subs/methadone, because with a suitable dosage regime and some willpower from the client it can!

Dosing for detox from heroin vs methadone/subs are very different, LAO's hang around for a long time, especially if they have been used for many years.
As with any opiate detox there is no quick fix, this does not mean Ibogaine doesn't work! and it annoys me when people say otherwise.

To complicate matters, there has been many 'clinic's' popping up in Canada and Mexico offering 'instant, painless detox'. Inevitably people are going to be let down, high expectations play a big part in peoples negative views to Ibogaine. 
A lot of these 'clinic's' are run by unscrupulous providers that are looking to make a quick buck.
I've heard many horror stories about people being left under dosed, in pain and thrown out if they kick up a fuss. These providers are exploiting desperate addict's, looking for a way out.

Another problem with Ibogaine is as it is still experimental and schedule I in the U.S there isn't much research going on, and a lack of scientific evidence about it's efficacy.
No one is even sure still exactly how it works. We know it affects pretty much every system in the human body, it seems to fill opiate receptors although it is not an opiate, and it seems to empty the receptors of any existing opiates thereby having the perceived effect of 're-setting' tolerance.

I can vouch for the tolerance re-set personally, and I can also say 100% that it stops acute withdrawals by around 95% for around three days (after a full flood dose)
This, by the way is true for any opiate, methadone or heroin (I've used it for both)

The issue of PAWS is a big one, and will exist whether Ibogaine has been used or not, and this I think is the crux of this argument.
People say Ibogaine doesn't work because some people struggle with PAWS and cravings post detox.
Well of course some people will! Ibogaine or not!

There are a small majority of people that have successfully detoxed with a single flood dose and did not suffer PAWS, cravings and are still clean today.
But for most people, especially people with years of use behind them and those using LAO's boosters will be needed, and sometimes even a second flood dose.

For methadone/Subutex, after the initial 100mg 'test' dose, a flood of around 19mg/kg is given, boosters of around 400mg(TA) or 200mg(HCL) are then given as required for as long as the next two weeks!

Please do not write off Ibogaine as a treatment option simply because some people struggle afterwards... I have tried pretty much every method of detox over the years and Ibogaine is the easiest I have ever done.
Next to a traditional quick methadone reduction and cold turkey, Ibogaine is a walk in the park.

And don't take my experiences as evidence it will not work for you! 
Every one reacts differently to Ibogaine, and everybody's body is different, the speed the Ibogaine is converted, the amount's of body fat that hold LAO's longer, age (research has shown those over 30 have a higher chance of attaining abstinence) and willpower have so much to do with your chance of a successful detox that it's not sensible as simple as taking one persons word for the outcome of your treatment.

Do your homework, read the existing research papers, get medically checked before contemplating treatment and make an informed decision.

Monday, 9 May 2011


So, after seeing my psychiatrist last week I'm now taking 180mg twice daily..
Apparently for working out equivalencies they take the MST dose and divide by six, I read on the 'release' (Page 19 Here) *PDF*
website that it's actually more like dividing by eight though.
This means I'm taking the equivalent of between 45-60mg/mls methadone, which is a pretty standard dose I guess...
I really don't want to go too high, I'm just making it more difficult for myself to get off! 
MST withdrawal isn't very nice apparently, but it can't be any worse than Methadone or Subutex! And I've done both...

I've also discovered 'SMART Recovery' - Taken from they're website...

Our purpose is to help individuals seeking abstinence from addictive behaviours to gain independence, achieve recovery and lead meaningful and satisfying lives.
The approach is secular and science based; using motivational, behavioral and cognitive methods. We view substance/activity dependence as a dysfunctional habit, while recognising that it is possible that certain people have a predisposition towards addictive behaviour.
Our self empowering, 4-point recovery programme consists of:

· Point 1: Enhancing and Maintaining Motivation to Abstain
· Point 2: Coping with Urges
· Point 3: Problem Solving (Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviours)
· Point 4: Lifestyle Balance (Balancing momentary and enduring satisfactions)

It was started in the U.S as an alternative/adjunct to NA/AA. 
It's based on a similar group therapy model, BUT... (and this is the important bit to me) there is no 'finding your higher power' involved, it was set up by a group of addiction specialists, counsellors, CBT practitioners and the theory is to use a bunch of 'tools' to help a person attain abstinence.
Another fundamental difference to NA is that the group meetings are run with the aid of a 'facilitator', trained to oversee the meeting.

The movement is growing in the UK, there are a few face to face meetings around the country but they also offer online web chat style meetings weekly.

I intend to get involved, I always found NA to be unwelcoming, judgmental, cliquey and hypocritical.
I never felt welcome as a newcomer, and was made to feel bad for taking methadone/sub/mst/ibogaine.

There always seems to be a pecking order, junkies below alcoholics, alcoholics below coke-heads etc...

Silly really, but I guess that's humans for ya!...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Tapering With MST - Morphine Sulphate Continus

So this is my latest attempt at detox and abstinence..

Surprisingly my psychiatrist has agreed to prescribe me MST,
in it's slow release form its supposed to last 12 hours so I dose twice a day.
It has a half life somewhere between heroin and methadone.

Were currently trying to find a dose I'm comfortable on.
At the moment I'm taking 120mg twice a day, it's difficult to work out equivalences with other opiates due to differing half lives but it's around the same as 30-40mg methadone.

Once stable I'll start to reduce. At a rate I'm comfortable with. No point rushing it or I'll just end up going backwards. Maybe 10mg a week but I'll see how it goes.

The plan at the end of the taper is to swap to naltrexone.
Starting a full opioid antagonist like naltrexone is notoriously difficult.

If started too early it can cause precipitated withdrawal as it nocks out any opiates left on the receptors.
Swapping from mst which has quite a long half life means I will have to go a few days in-between the two drugs.

EDIT:   After consulting with the stapleford clinic, apparently its ok to start naltrexlone on day 6 after stopping MST (Max 25mg) Five completely clean days in-between are essential.
Apparently a receptor flooding/blocking dose is around a 20th of a tablet, so it's advised just to take the lot... Iv'e also had people advise to nibble a couple of grains though the first time to challenge any remaining opiates. I'll probably stick to that plan...

I'll Document everything anyway. In the hopes it may help someone else going through a similar thing. I also want to show that morphine has a place in treating addiction in the NHS.
Currently it's something that you can only really get privately.
Luckily I have a psychiatrist with an open mind!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

This Blog...

Needs a new name I think!

Initially I wanted to write about using Ibogaine to stop my cycle of addiction to heroin, but I now seem to be documenting my battle with my addiction and my various attempts at getting clean, and maintaining abstinence...

As such, I want to write a bit about a previous attempt at detox, I got clean around 2006 using methadone. And as this seems to be the only option available to most people I want to say it can be done! 
At the end of the day it comes down to willpower and determination, and unfortunately these are two things that can-not be forced.

So, here is the story of how I got clean (and stayed clean for two years) using methadone and subutex.

By the age of twenty six, I had been using heroin for nearly ten years. I was at this point, homeless and begging on the streets for cash every day to support my habit. 
I befriended an American girl and we used to work together as two people is better than one when it comes to begging.
I guess we hung around together for about a year.. We would wake up, have our morning hit and go begging, get £40 together, which would take a few hours, then go and score, have a hit and go back out do the same again for the evening money. Out of this we would make sure we either saved enough gear for our morning hit (the most important one of the day) or have enough cash left over to score in the morning..

This went on, day in, day out for what seemed like forever, it's soul destroying, everything would revolve around using heroin, and getting the cash to buy it.
It got to the stage where I was so sick of it I decided to go to my GP and get a methadone script and clean up.
I guess the old cliche of having to hit rock bottom is true, as it took me getting to the stage of having nothing to actually want to clean up.
I offered to share my script with her if she wanted to clean up too but she wasn't ready, we ended up having a screaming row and we parted ways.
I literally stopped using that day, and I didn't touch heroin again for three and a half years.
I went through a period of being ill while we found a dose of methadone I was stable on, 120mls I believe.

Within a month I started to reduce my dose, and believe me I felt every drop, Id drop 1ml and wouldn't sleep well for a few days, once I felt OK again I'd drop another 1ml, hence why it took eighteen months to get off the stuff.
I also had to split dose as it never held me for the full 24 hours. This was fine when I was on high doses, eg on 60mls I'd have 30mls when I woke up, and 30mls around 6pm.

When I got down to 10mls I hit 'the brick wall' people talk of, when it's difficult to get any lower, plus having to split dose, 5ml and 5ml twice a day it was getting harder and harder to measure it.
I talked to my GP and we decided to swap me onto Subutex for the last bit of the taper. 
The swap was difficult, because of methadone long half life you have to wait a minimum of 24 hours after the last dose of methadone before starting Subutex or you can go into precipitated acute withdrawals due to Subutex being a partial opiate antagonist.

Subutex (Temgesic/Buprenorphine) Is a strange semi-synthetic opiate agonist/partial antagonist.
It fills the opiate receptors and also blocks them (at sufficient doses) so any other opiates can-not get in.

I stabilised on Subutex after about a week, I ended up on a dose a lot higher than I thought I would need (16mg) and soon after started to taper.
It's a lot easier to taper on subs, once I was down to 2mg you can cut the tablet with a razor, I think I got down to a quarter of a 2mg tab...

When it came to stopping altogether, I was so anxious about going into withdrawals, but I didn't!

I was FINE!

I didn't suffer PAWS, the only problem I had was with depression, I'm prone to depression anyway, that's why I started taking heroin in the first place!

I researched anti-depressants that help after long term opiate use and I started taking Venlaflaxine (Effexor)
It definitely helped, it stopped me feeling suicidal at least!

So... here I am again, well, I'm not on methadone this time, after the hellish 18 months it took to get off it last time I will never touch it again hence the MST.

But I wanted to give people on long term methadone maintenance that there is hope, it is possible IF you have the will power and determination to do it!