Wow, does time ever fly. The year 2016 is gone, and 2017 is here! It's been quite some time since I've posted, and I've had several of you reach out to make sure things are alright; so I wanted to take a quick moment to update everyone on how things have been going. TL;DR: Things are good! I can't complain, anyways.
Since starting this blog back in the Spring of 2014, I've received plenty of different questions from my readers and commenters. I've addressed a few of them over time in my various blog posts and tweets, but I wanted to go a step further and address the most common questions I'm asked - all in one place.
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to appear on CBC Radio One's 'The Current' with Anna Tremonti for an episode discussing the rise in Methadone prescribing in Ontario, and whether it has gone too far. The segment, entitled "Methadone treatment overused in Ontario, addiction experts warn", was guest hosted by journalist Connie Walker, and featured guests Dr. David Marsh of the Northern Ontario School Of Medicine, Dr. Benedikt Fischer of the Centre For Addiction And Mental Health, as well as myself.
For those of you who've never experienced what it's like to down a dose of Methadone, let me give you a quick idea; it's best taken all in one go, like you would a shot of Tequila. If you pay attention to the patients just after they've ingested their Methadone, you'll often catch a few of the faces puckering up in reaction to the bitter taste. When the dose itself is prepared by the pharmacist, it must be diluted prior to being dispensed to the patient. But the amount of liquid added as a diluting agent can pose problems for some patients when it comes to downing their dose...and keeping it there.
An interesting new study appearing in the Journal of The American Society of Anesthesiologists has found a link between a persons genetic makeup and the efficacy, metabolism rate and side effects of Methadone.
The topics of stigma, judgements and misinformation are nothing new when it comes to discussions on Methadone Maintenance Treatment. Methadone patients have long faced stigma from many different angles. Often times, misinformation and judgements go right along with it. But over my time as a Methadone patient, I've noticed that those judgements and bits of misinformation are not only coming from those unfamiliar with the treatment, but at times directly from within the MMT patient community itself.
We all have mouths, and I'm betting at one time or another, yours has probably felt dry. It happens to just about all of us from time to time. Yet some of us experience dryness in our mouths much more frequently than others, and to the point where it becomes problematic. Lets take a look at exactly what 'Dry Mouth' is, how it relates to Methadone, and my own attempts to fix the problem.
Proven effective or not, Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) programs face considerable challenges and stigma all over the world. Many treatment providers actively oppose it, and countries like Russia and Uzbekistan go so far as to refuse many harm reduction initiatives and deny lifesaving Methadone treatment to opiate addicts desperately in need of help. The country of Kazakhstan is currently facing their own major dilemmas regarding the controversial Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT), with strong views and opinions being hurled from both sides, and the future of their only MMT program in danger.
Agios Stefanos Prison in Patras, Greece is the proud new home of the country's very first 'prison' methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) program, where inmates struggling with addiction can now be provided with proper treatment, medical care and compassion they so desperately require to treat their addictions while incarcerated.
The 1st of September has finally come and gone, and here in Ontario it marked the arrival of a new formulation of Methadone by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals know as 'Methadose'. There has been plenty of discussion regarding the switch and it's negative impacts in B.C.; some vehemently opposed to the change, others standing firmly behind the position that there is absolutely no difference between the two formulations. However I no longer have to go by second hand accounts, as I have now officially made the Methadone to Methadose switch myself.
Changes Are Afoot
When I began hearing about the changes to the Methadone formulation in B.C. as well as the problems being raised by patients, my reaction was mixed. My first thoughts were those of empathy, discontent and relief. I truly felt for those patients in B.C. who were not adjusting well to the switch, and experiencing painful withdrawals. I was very unimpressed with the Province for making changes that are putting peoples hard earned recovery and sobriety at risk. However if I'm being honest, I was also completely and utterly relieved that there was no mention of Ontario in this switcharoo.
Just a few short months later while at the pharmacy for our daily dose of Methadone, Mr. L mentions he overheard discussion about something called 'Methadose' and changes to Methadone, and asked me if I had heard anything of it. As soon as the word 'Metha-DOSE' left his lips, my heart sunk. Fuck. I shook it off, and hoped to hell what he had just overheard did not pertain to us. I was just itching to hop on my bike and get myself home so I could dig into the treasure trove of information that is Google - searching for anything and everything remotely related to Ontario and Methadose.
The search results revealed exactly what I didn't want to see. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care had indeed made the decision to change from the current formulation of Methadone to Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals 'Methadose' as of September 1st, 2014.
By K. Lanktree
- Freelance Writer -
- Blog Mistress -
- Former IV Drug User -
- Methadone Patient -
- Lover of all things Harm Reduction -
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