mereggie stories

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methadone (what it's like)

When I get up in the morning, I don’t grab a coffee.  I go to the fridge for my 100 ml bottle of methadone. After that my day is just like yours. 

But I wasn’t always like this.  Life was a lot harder, a lot rougher.  Every morning I would be sick as / like a dog.  I’d crush up a couple of 8mg Dilaudid tablets and boil them in a spoon, then I’d fill a syringe. Tie my arm off and plunge the cure into my arm.  And then I was good for … 3 or 4 hours.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  I couldn’t work. 

Dilaudid is illegal unless your Dr.  [gives you] a prescription. With a few phone calls you can get them for about $20 each.  I used at least 10 a day.  10 to keep the sickness at bay, 10 to 20 more if I wanted to get high, and usually, I did if I had the money.  It’s not easy to come up with $500/day for pills/medicine, but its gotta be done - or else the sickness – it’s always there.  As soon as the pills begin to wear off, its banging at the door.  Cramps, chills, sweats, diarrhea, the shits, nausea, chronic anxiety, insomnia – that’s just the beginning.  Soon comes hallucinations and deliria, and unimaginable suffering.  It all goes away if you take another pill, just one more.  Then there’s methadone, a synthetic opiate, if you can get it.  In most cities it’s easy, but not quite so in Charlottetown.

For @ 5 years my life revolves around Dilaudid and Oxycontone, percocil, morphine, codeine, etc.  If I had money and pills were available, everything was fine.  But I wasn’t always fine.  I can’t count how many days I’ve lost to the sickness, how many times I’ve been to the treatment center.  And a waste of time that was.  They’d give you 2 or 3 mild sedatives a day for 3 days and then try to put you in god’s hands.  It didn’t work – after the week, or 2, or 3, was over, I could suffer no longer.  Straight to the dealer.  It doesn’t help to tell me “everythings gonna be all right.  You’ll feel better tomorrow”.  Anybody who says / tells you that doesn’t know what this drug is about (why I take it).

But I had always heard about the mainland, where they gave you this drug, methadone, that took away the suffering and made you feel normal, not high, just normal, like I used to be … yeah, like it used to be, I miss those days.

I did the drugs for 5 or 6 years, but and I sat by and watched, as friends and acquaintances died one after another, month by month, because they couldn’t get the help they needed.  I’m sure the doctor (at Detox) noticed too, but it didn’t matter [since] we are / they were expendable.  But I couldn’t stop.  I couldn’t handle the sickness.  The detox couldn’t help.  They didn’t have a clue.  They would have nothing to do with methadone (methadone is addictive.  You have to take it every dad or you get sick just like with the drugs, but it’s prescribed to you, you can have ready access to it.  You never have to be sick again, you don’t get high on it, but you can live an ordinary life, like anyone else.

Finally, I scraped up some money, packed up my bags, and left for Alberta.  All I had was a change of clothes, $500,and enough pills to last me 3 days, it was a gamble, nothing was lined up / set up - I was on my own.

But it worked out.  Before 48 hours were up, I was in a doctor’s office getting a prescription for methadone.  It was such a relief, such a good feeling.  No more days spent looking for drug dealers, no more searching for a private place to inject my drugs, and no more waking up sick – I was human again.  I got a job, an apartment, a car, and a normal life.

But I always wanted to come home again.  I have children in PEI.  What good am I to them if I am 3000 miles away?  A few years went by, and I became used to feeling normal again and not needing drugs.  I had seen on the internet that PEI was starting a methadone program.  This year I came home.  It was great.  I missed PEI.  I could see my kids, my family, my friends every day and I wasn’t sick all the time like I used to be.  It was different now.  Better. It seemed too good to be true.

It was.  Sure I could get methadone now and I felt good … physically – but mentally? When I go to the pharmacy, I don’t go to the counter like anybody else, I go around the back, into the office, where no one can see me.  I don’t feel different, but I am.  The pharmacists are ashamed of me, or ashamed for me.  Does it make a difference?  I began to understand / grasp what life must be like for a black person, or these days, an arab, from their perspective.  I don’t like it.

And things have changed at the treatment centre.  They now have a methadone program – but they still don’t understand – they don’t get it.  I came / went there with a perfect record from my doctor in Alberta.  I gave urine tests every month, and never once did I fail only once in 4 years.  I thought I had proven myself but no.  It starts slowly, but within 3 months, for some reason, I realize that I am not like other people.  I’m a drug addict, a junkie.  I don’t feel like one now, but at the Detox, it is clear that is how they see me.  I am a liar, a cheat, a thief, a dirtbag, scum of the earth.  I know I’m clean and sober, with the help of methadone, but that doesn’t seem to matter – I’m a liar, a cheat, a thief.  I must be if I’m on methadone.  In PEI, it seems that only thieves, cheats and liars use methadone.  In the rest of Canada, there are factory workers, plumbers and carpenters on meth[adone], as well as lawyers, and even doctors taking methadone!

But, my god, it is different here.  I hate myself for having to do this.  It didn’t bother me in Alberta, there I was treated like anyone else, but here, no.  I’m walking on eggshells every time I go to the pharmacy, or the doctor, especially the doctor, I don’t know what to expect.  On one day, I was asked twice for urine tests.  Apparently, they thought that as soon as I gave the first sample, I was going to go and get some drugs.  I live in constant suspicion and fear, even though I have done no wrong.  Its just that I didn’t realize I was a cheat, a liar and a thief and as such I must be closely monitored.  I am not on drugs, but they think I am.  All drug users, past or present, are liars, cheats and thieves – that’s just how it is in PEI.  They’re going to get me, to catch me, it doesn’t matter that I’m not doing anything wrong.  It’s who I am I’m a thief, a liar and a cheat…

Prescription Problems