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In Los Angeles and need help!

Discussion in 'Detoxing From Buprenorphine/Subutex/Suboxone' started by Tortise Mesa, Feb 11, 2004.

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  1. Tortise Mesa

    Tortise Mesa Guest

    I have been reading this message board the last few days and I really like what I am hearing. I am a male in my late twenties who lives in Los Angeles and works in the entertainment industry. I have been abusing opiates daily for about the last 3 years (though I have been using recreationally for about 10) and my habit now is 25 Norco or 8 Oxy 20's or 2 or 3 Oxy 80's a day - basically whatever I can get my hands on. My preferred method of abuse is snorting Oxy's, everyone is always wondering why I spend so much time in the bathroom.

    I began using opiates to overcome panic attacks and agoraphobia and it worked but now I have found myself in an awful fix. Even though I have a great job and am well paid I find myself constantly short of money and pretty much trapped, unable to go anywhere where I can't get acess to drugs. I am sick of this life, sick of giving thousands of dollars a month to some of the worst people I have ever met, sick of having to lie to the people that mean the most to me. I am ready to get off this stuff ASAP.

    Outpatient buprenorphine seems like the perfect option for me as because of my job I can't really spend a month in a treatment center. I have a few questions though and was hoping maybe someone on here could help me out.

    1. I have acess to both Oxy and Norco, it is better to start the Buprenorphine when I am on Norco or Oxy? Will one make it harder or easier?

    2. I need to find a doctor in my area, but am a little reluctant to just cold call doctor's. Has anyone had a good experience with a doctor in Los Angeles, or know of a resource to point me to so I can find one?

    3. I have insurance but am reluctant to have them involved in anything having to do with illegal drugs - will the fact that I have gone to a doctor for addiction treatment follow me around like a scarlet letter in some file for the rest of my life? Should I not go through my insurance? How much does it typically cost to pay for visits and medication?

    4. The longest I have been off has been about a month, two years ago when my habit was much smaller. I was pretty depressed this whole time, should I think about getting on anti-depressents when first getting off? The other issue is my panic attacks, I think these are in the past but can't be entirely sure as I have been pretty heavily medicating myself.

    Any advice would help, I would also like to hear any stories from people taking dosages simillar to mine and what your experience on buprenorphine was like. How did you feel? Will I have trouble going to work? I'm really anxious to get started with this am looking forward to having my life back. Thanks so much.

    Tortise Mesa.
  2. Bup4pain

    Bup4pain Well-Known Member

    I find Hydro less bumpy then Oxy... Taper then stop the hydro for 18 -24 hrs then start the Sub

    I have no input on MD's in your area ... sorry

    If you can afford to NOT use insurance DON'T There will be a record of a payment, you have signed a release of information to authorize the payment (or they will not pay), and the info could be reported to the MIB ... Also the government would review your medical insurance payouts if you have/want a secure job.

    Depression is a part of opiate w/d and will last a month or so.. It will resolve over time. The fastest way to restart normal production of the chemicals in your brain is to take nothing. If after a 3 month or so time if serious depression sets in try the older AD's before the SSRI's an only take them for a short period. (that's my feeling which is shared by some but not all)

    If you had a history of depression pre opiates than you may need ADs and therapy for it.

    Good diet ... Amino acids, exercise will yield the most positive results for most people. Give yourself some time to heal.

    With bupe/sub.. Less is more. Take as little as you can to have it work. It may be a lot higher in the first 3 days , but taper quickly to a much lower dose. 4 mg may do it after induction and a taper.

    Buprenorphie is AMAZING. Don't mistake to much bupe for not enough. Headache, nausea, even hot flashes and be from to much bupe. (I was on it for 2 years) I also recommend a short usage if you don't plan on maintenance. If you use it for less than 21-28 days getting off it is a LOT easier. After a month you will develop a dependence on it.

    15-21 days or so can do it if you are looking for a short detox. Your Oxy usage level of 160 mg a day may need more time so do what you are comfortable with. Let your body be the guide.
  3. ashley80

    ashley80 Well-Known Member

    Mesa, welcome and I am sorry that you are in this difficult situation. As for docs, try the ones listed on the samsha website, that's what I did, and it worked out OK.
    As for depression, it is a normal outcome of opiate withdrawal as bup4 said, BUT, it can be bad enough to send you back to the oxy's and norco, so let your own situation be your guide. My opinion is that it is better to take an anti-d than it is to go back to the hydro. But of course, not all agree with that, and it's my opinion only.
    RE: the insurance, I chose to pay cash, and NOT use my insurance, for privacy reasons. I just don't want a record of this out there.
    If you dose the bup properly, you should be able to work, maybe just a day off to stabilize. My cost for two weeks of suboxone and doc visits was about $425. But I don't live in your area. At any rate, it's cheaper than oxy's and norco's esp if you are buying them on the street, right?
    I detoxed off about 150 mgs of hydro per day, so your tolerance is higher than mine was. No exp w oxy's. But 14-16 mgs of subox daily for the first three days was too much for me and made me sick. You might need that much, or much less. Doc will help you w dose.
    I wish you good luck, and congratulations on taking the first step of posting here. Come back and let us know how it goes??
  4. pillmonkey

    pillmonkey Member

    make sure you are showing signs of withdrawal from the vics/oxy before you start the suboxone. suboxone works best when you're starting or are in withdrawal..ideally 24-36 hours after your last vic/oxy dose. Suboxone could put you into immediate withdrawals if you take it too soon after your last vic/oxy dose. Suboxone works well and you shouldn't have any withdrawals once you start the treatment. Your Dr. may give you Trazadone for sleep and Donnatal for stomach cramps. Dr Jason Hymes on Wilshire in Bev. Hills is someone to look into. Good Luck.
  5. pinkie

    pinkie Well-Known Member

    Sorry I can't help you with the doctor, but have a few thoughts about the other questions...

    Call me paranoid, but the only doctors or therapists that know about my drug problem are the ones I pay in cash. I am self employed/self insured, and in spite of all the lip service society pays to this addiction thing being a disease etc., I think it is a big risk to tell professionals who can be found. If in the future, you need to change your insurance, or if a legal dispute comes up, any record that can be easily found/shared/subpeona'd is a giant boon for the other team. Even my doctors agree that it's a risk, and have seen problems come up for people who disclose. To be fair, any diagnosis is a potential problem, even being diagnosed for depression, but I think there's still a great big stigma about addiction in this country. Think long and hard about how you want to proceed, and if you can afford to pay cash to someone 'off the grid', I would suggest it.

    As for the anti-depressants, it's your call, and a dangerous subject in these parts lately. I spent years not wanting to try them, and ultimately ended up doing it. It's your life, you only have one of them, so you need to weigh the pros and cons and make up your mind independently.L Like anything, they have their downside and absolutely everything in life is a tradeoff, but they work for lots of people.

    And finally, anxiety/panic disorder can be treated really effectively using cognitive behavioral therapy. Check out this website


    It's a program that I attended with a friend, and I saw amazing results with almost every person who took the class. It's something you have to practice, but you can really get amazing results, (I'm a very skeptical type, and I was truly impressed by how well it worked.)

    So good luck and be tenacious.
  6. Tortise Mesa

    Tortise Mesa Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the advice guys. I printed all the numbers of local doctors who perscribe off the samsha website and have been carrying it with me for a few days now. I also have the number of Dr. Hymes, thanks pillmonkey. Did you have a good experience with him? How much did he cost?

    I have to be honnest, as anxious as I am to get off I am really terrified at making this change. I have been pretty depressed this week. I guess what really scares me is the thought of being sick and having to keep it a secret from everyone - of being trapped at work and feeling withdrawls, though everyone seems to be saying I will avoid this with Bup. I guess I'm also scarred of not being able to keep all this a secret and of people finding out and thinking less of me for being an addict.

    I guess all this is a small price to pay for being able to live a decent honnest life again, but I just really need to hear that this CAN be done and I will be able to work without feeling absolutely horrible. And when I do taper down and get off completely how will I feel?

  7. diavolo7

    diavolo7 Well-Known Member

    I agree with Pinkie in regard to your panic attacks.

    In the past, I've experienced severe panic attacks, only while sleeping at first. After about 20 minutes of sleep, I would wake up in a complete panic and think I was dying. My hands were numb, my heart was pounding, I was hyperventilating, etc.
    After about 20 minutes I realized I was still here and therefore not dying! After awhile, the anxiety carried over into day time. I'd be at the beauty salon, for example, waiting to get a haircut, and I'd get palpitations and a feeling of doom, racing thoughts, amongst other odd feelings, both physical and mental. No fun! I'm a logical thinker and that did NOT help. I could not talk myself out of it, no matter how Spock-like I became in my thinking.

    I tried low dose benzos, but I really hated the way they made me feel, so I bought a book instead. It's called, "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne. I didn't have high hopes, but I figured it couldn't hurt. Well, I cannot possibly convey to you how much knowledge helped. I've since loaned it to others experiencing anxiety/panic and they, too, felt so much better. Actually, reading the book during an attack helped stop it in it's tracks.

    I clicked Pinkie's link above and it brought me to a site with books and home courses about panic attacks and anxiety. In this case, I truly believe knowledge is power. Power over the anxiety and panic. Somehow, just knowing why it's happening stopped the atttacks. Just like that! It worked for me and others I know, so perhaps it would help you as well. Check out the book I mentioned as well as Pinkie's link. A simple solution to a complex problem.

    PINKIE: How's the asthma?? I'm doing well because it's cold outside. But, not too cold. A nice cold. For me, anyway. Summer for me is HELL. I hate it and it hates me back.
  8. oxy4years

    oxy4years Member

  9. Paizzanno

    Paizzanno Member

    Hi Tortise,
    You say you are in the entertainment Ind. in LA,... well I live down in San Diego and I produce Music ( Mostly House and Electronic ) I've been doing this for 10 years and let me tell you once these opiates got a hold of me my whole drive shifted from creating good music to trying to find my next high! and then I got real scared because I was putting out good music and thought that if I stopped using i would loose my creative edge!!! Well let me tell you it just isn't so! I got myself some Bupe and last week I stopped using and started a 5 day Bupe Detox,.. I didn't even have enough money to get more bupe than that ( I just go down to mexico and buy it it's super cheap down there ) Anyway it's been 5 days and although I probablly used less bupe than I should have because like i said I couldn't afford that much at the time,.. I did make it and it was relatively pain free,.. there were some aches and pains but I slept well every night and each day got easier also i was using harder stuff than you "H" but i had only been using for 2 months this time. I know the fear of withdrawyl is a scarry thought but man with the bupe you can do it and just think of the all the positive things that will happen once you get this DEVIL of your back,... you will in effect have your life back,.... you will save tons of money,... you won't have to lie to your friends and co-workers and you won't have to deal with bull****tin Drug Dealers who think there **** doesn't stink cuz they sell drugs ( you know the type ) Also I'm not sure who said it but the thing about exersice is so true,... I used to run 5 miles a day and hit the weights before i got involved with opiates and about 2 weeks ago i started taking walks and light jogs again and liftin a little and even when i was detoxing i was able to do this because of the Bupe,... and I'm already starting to feel better from the exercise,.... So basically what I'm saying is Just Man or Woman up and Do it I know you can if you just believe in yourself and weigh the one side against the other and in a few months you will look back on this and see that it was the best desicion you've made in a long time,... that I promise you! Also if you live in LA you might want to take a spin down to TJ and just buy your own supply of Bupe so you stay of the Radar but that's your call ( I'm sure it's better to do it with a doctor even though i didn't I would have if I could have afforded it) I just figured I've been self medicating for this long why stop now!! :) Just Kidding,..... Just keep comong back to this forum and you won't be alone, the people here are all for the most part very wonderful, caring and knowledgeable people and they have all been in our shoes which to me means alot because most doctors or drug workers have not! Take care and please let me know how your Detox goes.

    not for nothing and with all due respect,.... FORGET ABOUT IT!
  10. Paizzanno

    Paizzanno Member

    Oh and plaese forgive my horrible spelling I'm just a bad typer :)

    not for nothing and with all due respect,.... FORGET ABOUT IT!
  11. Tortise Mesa

    Tortise Mesa Well-Known Member

    Paizzanno, thanks for sharing your story. I have thought of asking the shady doctor who perscribes my meds for Bup, but now I think this isn't the greatest idea. I went through and researched all the names of doctors I have printed from the samhsa website and will start making calls tomorrow, but man #60 8mg for $283? How many can I expect to take of these in a day, 2 or 3 at first right? So that's like a 20 day supply at the most? Are everyone's med's around this price without insurance? I want to get started ASAP but at these prices may be forced to stay on the oxy and norco for another week until my paycheck, which is unfortunate.

    I took a huge leap and told my girlfriend of 2 years tonight, it's been a pretty emotional evening to say the least. I didn't think I could go through what I'm going to go through alone though and keep it a secret. I'll keep everyone updated with my progress, and again would still appreciate any doctor recommendations anyone has for Los Angeles and surrounding area. Thanks for the support. TM.
  12. Tortise Mesa

    Tortise Mesa Well-Known Member

    Oh one more thing guys, what do you think my fastest option would be for getting some Bup? I run out of pills on Wed. and I would much rather start on Bup than get more Oxy. Thanks, TM.
  13. Tortise Mesa

    Tortise Mesa Well-Known Member

    I started making calls this morning and am having a hard time finding what I need. One person I talked to said on the first visit there would be a $400 urine screen. Is this typical? A urine screen on the first visit and then you get perscribed on the second? I mean it's almost cheaper just to stay an addict. Feeling very fustrated, they don't make this easy. I mean, it's hard enough to call total strangers saying you need help for your deepest darkest secret.
  14. Rohan

    Rohan Well-Known Member

    Welcome Tortise! I know it is frustrating! The cost may seem high at first but once you get started it will end up costing you less than staying on the pills. IMO you should see the doctor. They will set you up with the support system and the right dose and instructions for your personal situation. This is about a change for the better, right? Don't buy off the streets (you don't know what they look like and could be taking anything) get them through a doctor. If you can't afford it this week then wait until next week! Make the appointment for a day that works for you. You can do this! Telling your girlfriend was a great step. That took courage, way to go!
    The urine screen is a normal thing, this way they get a very clear picture of what you are using. Hang in there! You can do this!
  15. Tortise Mesa

    Tortise Mesa Well-Known Member

    Ok, I managed to find a psychiatrist who is an addiction specialist that will see me next Wed. The initial visit is $400 and additional vists $250, does this sound about right? It just strikes me as a lot of money, especially when I see people on here talking about $150 visits, but is this with insurance? I am paying cash but I do have insurance - as I said above I am just really reluctant to use it for this. How much are you guys paying for visits?
  16. pillmonkey

    pillmonkey Member

    Dr Hymes will cost $298.00 per visit. He may accept your insurance.

    You may want to go through a formal detox program. Outpatient detox will require urinalysis which will keep you honest. It's easy to replace another drug w/ your drug of choice. When I tried to detox on my own, I invariably would find myself substituting the opiates with a joint or some valium or xanax.

    Once you start your program, it's important to find the correct dosage of Suboxone. In general, 8 mg or 16 mg/day is the optimal dose. Remember, the point of detox then maintenance treatment is for you to be comfortable and free of drug craving – not simply to stop you from feeling utterly horrible, or to control withdrawal symptoms just enough for you to white-knuckle it home. Until you feel truly okay, the dose still needs to be increased. If your doctor does not see things this way, then find another doctor.
  17. Tortise Mesa

    Tortise Mesa Well-Known Member

    Well I actually called Dr. Hymes first as you suggested and the first available date to see him was Mar. 29th. I really don't want to spend another month and a half on drugs if I have a choice. Did Dr. Hymes require a urine screen? I mean with the appointment and urine screen plus medication we are talking about $1000? What was the procedure for getting Bup. through him? Also, isn't Hymes internal medicine and not a psychatrist? I was kind of hoping to get help if my panic attacks came back after stoping the pills as well.

    Formal detox may be preferable, but I have a full time job and can't really afford to stop my whole life to go through a detox for however long it takes. I was hoping instead to take a few days off of work and detox at home. T.M.
  18. Tortise Mesa

    Tortise Mesa Well-Known Member

    BTW when I say detox at home I mean with a doctor's assistance and proper medication to help. Also, is Dr. Hymes $298 for all visits? Is the first visit more expensive? Thanks, TM.
  19. pillmonkey

    pillmonkey Member

    Hymes is an internist who specializes a pain management. I went to him for post-operative pain management. If your opiate abuse didn't stem from pain management, Hymes may not be the person to see. You may want to call his office and ask the RN if he does outpatient opiate detox and what it would cost. If he does outpatient detox, you could get an appointment much sooner with his colleague Gerald Chatman who is also internist specializing in pain management. I know that Hymes can prescribe Suboxone although I'm not doing my detox through him.
  20. pillmonkey

    pillmonkey Member

    I paid $298.00 everytime I saw Hymes or one of his colleagues.
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