Sunday, September 26, 2010

Confusion. "What's Methadone"

Well, it's been a week since my first posting.   The task this last week has been to get my blog out into the cyber community, a task that was quite daunting, considering my only moderate computer skills.   Hopefully, I have achieved this and I can now concentrate on updating my blog.

The Methadone Maintenance Program,  "what's that, is it the name of a rehab centre"?  I asked.   Shane didn't answer, I guess he'd had enough talking by then, but the literature we were given to read was self explanatory:

The Methadone Maintenance program in New Zealand is a Government funded outpatient program operated from clinics by Community Alcohol & Drug Services, (CADS) in short.   Methadone is a synthetic Opiate based drug made purely for this program worldwide.   It is an oral drug administered daily to addicts to help stabilize their Opiate addiction.   It was first established in NZ in 1975, and it was originally introduced as a 'harm reduction program', to help contain the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C, which can develop through needle sharing, and also to decrease the criminal activity that supports illicit drug use.   The process of eligibility into The Methadone program entails interviews with a CADS clinic doctor, regarding drug addiction history.   New entrants are then blood tested to verify drug use and also of any possible health risks he/she may have.   This evaluation for entry is very important as it allows the clinic doctor to prescribe the correct daily dose of Methadone each patient requires for their addiction.

The material wasn't very imformative about the drug Methadone itself, or the length of time treatment was for.   Shane was still taking drugs, albeit legal, on this program.   I think all in the family were struggling, like myself, to understand how replacing one drug for another was beneficial for a persons addiction.   But Shane was very positive and optimistic that Methadone would stabilize his addiction, and then he would withdraw off Methadone and exit the program.   Shane entered The Methadone Maintenance program in August 1994, and his goal then was to be off the program in 2 years.

Well, that goal and time frame back in 1994 never happened, and it wasn't that Shane didn't try to make it happen, but Methadone just made it difficult to achieve.   Methadone is actually more addictive than Heroin and harder to withdraw from.   Shane realised this once he started to withdraw down his daily dose of Methadone, and that's when his abuse of other drugs began.   The more he attempted to cut his Methadone dose down, the more he abused other drugs.   It became a vicious cycle of addiction.

Methadone treatment for drug addiction is a fallacy, and certainly not a treatment option I would recommend to others.   Methadone didn't help, it only compounded Shane's addiction.   Shane looked like and became  more of an addict on Methadone than he did on Heroin.    This is because, body tolerance to Methadone is higher than with Heroin, which also makes the Methadone detoxification process a lot longer than Heroin.   So in hindsight, swapping Heroin for Methadone wasn't the best solution for Shane.   The drug Methadone was to bring more destruction to Shane's life than any other drug he'd ever used.   Also, unbeknown to Shane, when entering this Methadone program in 1994, it was to lead to a fourteen year burden that would slowly destroy his body, mind and soul.   This fourteen year journey was to engulf his whole family with such sadness, having to witness Shane's despair, his many failed attempts to come off Methadone, and his addiction spiral out of control.   All he wanted was to be clean, all I wanted was to have my precious son back.

In 2004 and in desperation to help Shane, I commenced research to increase my knowledge regarding addiction, drugs and substances, and The Methadone Maintenance program.   The weeks and weeks of effort and computer technology rewarded me with an abundance of information, especially regarding The Methadone Maintenance program and the drug Methadone.   This knowledge did give me some understanding to the escalation of Shane's addiction while on The Methadone program.   But this insight also made the dream of Shane being drug free seem almost unobtainable.   It was a pity that the addictive nature of Methadone, and it's difficult withdrawal process wasn't fully explained in The Methadone Maintenance program information booklet.

I am not pro or anti Methadone, I acknowledge The Methadone program does have a purpose and place in our society for persons with addiction.   However, the whole program must be restructured to put more emphasis on achieving an end result for the participant, not just maintenance.   Participants shouldn't have to, or be permitted to exist on this program for years.   These participants, as Shane's reference to himself, just end up 'Methadone Junkies', who see no way out of the program, and without a time frame, plan, or encouragement, why most stay on it for years.   I am only referring to The Methadone Maintenance program operating in New Zealand.   Other countries Methadone programs may operate differently to ours her in NZ.

This is the first part of a campaign I propose to forward to the appropriate members of parliament within our NZ Government.   The focus and goal of my campaign will be to instruct fundamental restructuring of the entire Methadone Maintenance program and the services that operate around it.   This program must be streamlined for success, not just sustainability.   I will roll out more aspects of my campaign in furture posts.

I do apologise for the length of this post and hope I haven't bored you all to bits.   I intend to continue sharing Shane's fourteen years on The Methadone Maintenance program, and his journey through addiction hell, so keep tuning into my blog for updates.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

No2Methadone. Sons Addiction. A Mothers Story

I wished my son's addiction had just stopped with Heroin, but sadly it didn't.   He so wanted to be clean and free of drugs and did try many times to abstain from using, but the power of Heroin always reeled him back in.   It was the vomiting, cramps and sweats of detox that usually got the better of him in the end.   My son, like most addicts are good people from good homes, they just make some really bad choices in life.

My name is Diane, I am a mother of 3 and grandmother of 6, and we live in New Zealand.   It is our second son Shane and his years of addiction and drug abuse that I am going to blog about.   Shane's battle for drug freedom was long and painful, taking some years, and it even became life threatening in the end.   His battle was also mine, and it took every ounce of love and strength a mother could give, but I never gave up hope.   I decided to share my story and knowledge in the hope it may be of some help to all those inflicted with an addiction and their families.   Please feel free to contact me or leave a comment (good, bad or otherwise) anytime through out my blog.   The following piece is purely my theory on Addiction.

Addiction, whatever it maybe, alcohol, drugs, food or gambling, draws you in slowly.   It loves you to have fun or feel comfortable, that's all part of the bigger plan.   The web of deception closes in though, once the desire and need has taken over.   Now addiction has done what it set out to do, made you reliant on whatever it handed you to have fun or feel comfortable with.

Shane was born in 1966 and grew up in a lower North Island rural town.   He had a loving, congenial personality, and an adventurous, carefree spirit.   He left college and took on the trade of Automotive Spray Painting and gained independence at 17 years old.   Shane's early twenties were spent living and working in Sydney Australia.   He returned from Australia to his hometown, where he obtained casual employment, and than at 27 years old he moved up to Auckland to reside with his dad and I.   This move to us was at the time a surprise, but all the same we were delighted to have Shane close within our lives again after so many years.   Shane had been living with us for over one year when his serious drug addiction problem was disclosed.   Shane's story and drug abuse history is probably similar to millions of others out there, it all starts so innocently.

Shane unburdened and told us that he'd had established drug problem for some years, starting with Cannabis use in his teenage years.   But while living in Sydney, his drug addiction esculated to the intravenous drug use of Heroin.   He maintained his drug habit with Home-bake and Morphine when he returned from Sydney, which he stated, was relatively easy to source in his hometown.   Realising his addiction had got out of control was the real reason behind his move to us in Auckland.   He hoped the move would help him abstain from further drug use.   However, this had proved difficult and he'd been using prescription drugs to supplement his addiction when he was unable to source or fund his intavenous drug habit.   The habitual and over powering impact addiction now had on his life was all to encompasing, so he'd sought help and was entering The Methadone Maintenance Program for his addction problem.

It was an emotional, heartbreaking declaration, and one that left us, as parents, sad and bewildered.   It was really hard to believe what we were hearing, as Shane's appearance, physique and demeanour weren't that of an addict.   His financial resources were extremely modest with not being employed, so the disclosure of his addiction, and of how habitual it had become, came at the time, a real shock to us.   To be confronted with substance abuse, whether it's alcohol or drugs is a parent's worst nightmare.   Shane's age of 28 years old was irrelevant.   It took Shane a lot of courage to admit all this to his dad and I, and as as blown away as we were, we did appreciate that.

The power of drugs verses the power of a mother's love start's here, the battle commences.   My blog will be continued like your reading a book, in kind of small chapters, and I do promise to keep my blog updated every 2 or 3 days.