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Husband "Steals" my prescribed pain meds.
Hello. This is the first time I have ever posted on any type of forum.
Several years ago, I injured my back in a MVA. Since then, I have been on pain meds. I currently am prescribed 4-7.5-325 oxycodone-acetaminophen, and 50 mg of Oxycontin per day. I see a pain management specialist for my issues. My husband has a prescription for Vicodin and he has been addicted to opiates for about 3 years, but in the last year, his addiction has gotten to the point that he steals my pills. Last January, I told him that I was tired of having to count my pills constantly and of trying to keep him out of them. He has gotten to the point that this last month, he took 1/2 of my prescribed meds, which leaves me in constant pain. I know he loves me. We have been married for 21 years. He is bi-polar and is using the opiates to self-medicate, since he won't stay on his bp meds, in my opinion. I get SSD, and he works sporadically - he hasn't worked this year but around 4 months. I have tried keeping the pills on me, but the nature of the meds means that my memory is not the best and I leave them places sometimes, so he gets into them then. I have put them into a toolbox and used a padlock, but he figured out the combination. I used a key-lock, and he picked it. I have sent them all home with my daughter except for what I leave in my 7-day pill holder, and he even took them out of that. He is always remorseful after I count my pills and figure out how many he has taken from me. He always tells me he WILL get help when I plead with him to get help, and tell him that he can't quit on his own. I don't believe anything he says anymore. I told him he has until January 1st, 2013 to move out OR go check himself into some kind of rehab. I said that when he could PROVE to me that he has been completely sober for 1 year, that he could come back home. Am I doing the right thing?
I'm sorry for all of the Issues your having...I truly am...I was an Oxy Addict for MANY years and only recently got Clean with the Help of all of my Dear, and Wonderful Friends here on Drugs.com!!!
1st off, You need to get something your "McGyver" Hubby cant pick the lock on! Like a Small "Sentry Safe" like the one I have...they run anywhere from $50-100 at Lowes.....He will NOT pick one of these I Promise you! But thats just "deflecting" the REAL Problem! His addiction will drive him to the Streets if he cant get them at home. An Addict will do ANYTHING to get his pills, and it WILL NOT end until he admits his problem and seeks help for it. You are doing the right thing in my opinion, IF you have exhausted ALL other Outlets, which it sounds to me as you have. Tough Love is one of the HARDEST things we can do for our loved ones addicted to Drugs, and sometimes it Helps, sometimes it does not....I think One Year might be a little extreme, but you know your Hubby and your situation better than I....
Have you talked to your Pain Mgmt Dr if he does "Suboxone Therapy"? Suboxone is an Opiate Replacement Drug that comes in a Pill or a "Film" form and is taken to eliminate the Withdrawal Symptoms from Opiates. Most Pain Mgmt Doctors have some type of Suboxone Therapy Available, but you have GOT to get him in there to the Doc. Is he a Veteran? The VA has some Fantastic Rehab and Therapy Programs! I got clean using the Suboxone and it was a Life Saver for me! But it can be addictive as well, so he would have to follow the Program to the LETTER!
Most Doctors have NO Clue on how to Prescribe them though! They want to BLAST you with Very High Doses to a) Keep you coming back for more and to keep that $$$ flowing, or b) Just simple lack of Knowledge on Proper Prescribing methods.
If you can get him on Suboxone, get the Prescription, then come back here and we will help you with the Program the RIGHT way!
Here is a Link to the Suboxone Program that MANY MANY of the People here in the Forums have Used Successfully to get off Opiate Addiction....I myself used it to get clean, and Thank GOD for it!
Please keep posting and let us know how it is going Brenda. Hang in there, I FELL your Pain and we are here to help!
Hope to hear from you soon!
First off, there is always a way to hide narcotics from an addict - so that doesn't wash with me. You can dream up anything from putting the bottle in an empty cereal box lined up with others in the cupboard to hiding it under a box of tampons, where men never look. In a dirty sock at the bottom of the hamper. In the Christmas decorations box. As long as it's available, an addict will take them.
I must say I find it rather bizarre for two people in one household to require daily narcotics for years on end. If you still require such massive doses of oxycodone and oxycontin several years after an accident, that's alarming. Oxycontin is for the most severe pain, often used for cancer and end-of-life issues. It was never designed to be given for years on end. Clearly, your body is dependent on the drugs at this point, and stopping abruptly will put you into withdrawal. I would explore any and every other means of pain control, from acupuncture, biofeedback and self-hynopsis to steroid injections and non-steroidals, before I would spend years taking this kind of pain medication. This has got to be wreaking havoc on your mind and emotions, as well as your liver.
Yes, you can give him an ultimatum - but the only way this will work is if you follow through with it. In the meantime, if there are still narcotics in the home when he returns clean and sober - he'd be set-up to relapse.
You will know the truth - and only the truth can set you free.
Ruth is EXACTLY right Brenda!
I'm sorry I didn't touch on that point....what WILL you do when your Hubby gets clean and your STILL using?
Is that Fair to Him? Is it Fair to YOU?
Why don't you BOTH seek help....TOGETHER! Your MUCH Stronger Together than divided!
Ty so much for your kind and helpful responses, Harry and Ruth. Based upon what you both said, I told him that he did not have to move out, but he did have to seek help. He is a veteran, so he is going to call the VA and see what they have to offer. I didn't want to leave a really long post the first time for fear no one would want to read it, lol. I realize now, that I left out some pertinent information. Unfortunately, I have several health issues. I have COPD (yes, I quit smoking 2+ years ago) and took so many steroids over the years for my lungs, that I now have steroid-induced diabetes. I also have rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. The neurosurgeon said he wouldn't perform any type of back surgery on me because I was the perfect candidate to go on a respirator during surgery, and never come back off of it. They told me I would never be able to go off of the pain meds, and they had me sign a contract which stated that I was aware that I would become dependent upon the opiates. The PM Dr. said that there is a difference between being dependent upon the opiates and being addicted. He said as long as I just take what is prescribed to me, I am not considered an addict. He said the people who do not have rx's for them or abuse the prescriptions they do have, are the people that need to get help. I do get the injections in my back and neck a couple of times a year. After hearing what you both said, I am confused, lol. Ruth, I had been hiding them pretty successfully until I started on the oxycontin, and that just blows my memory to pieces, so twice, I hid them and forgot where I hid them at. I am going to support my husband in his recovery and talk to my PM Dr. about some alternatives to the narcotics. Ty so much again.
I cannot believe that someone with COPD is being given that amount of respiritory depressive medication. Neither do I appreciate the references to being dependent vs. addicted, particularly when you are increasing your pain medication, however legally. This doesn't sound exactly right to me. I think both you and your husband have some problems here. I wish you well.
Iloerose, I apologize for offending you with my last comment. It was not my intent. I was merely repeating what I have been told by my doctor. I am not being dishonest about anything that I posted. I may be guilty of ignorance, but not of dishonesty. I do not, nor pretend to know very much on this subject. This forum has been extremely helpful and educating, and I hope to learn as much as I can in order to improve my husband and I's quality of life. Tyvm for your response, and I wish you all the best.
Unfortunately, it seems that many doctors are terribly ignorant about addiction and dependency. Seriously, there is pathetically little focus on the topic in most medical schools, so it appears that many make it up as they go along. Indeed, it is entirely possible to become addicted to a prescription pain med that is legitimately prescribed for legitimate pain. I did. I work with countless women who have, as well. In fact, it's very common. Chronic pain patients are most at risk.
I think Rose's post is valid - giving that level of narcotics to a COPD patient is quite dangerous. Given the respiratory depression of the COPD, taking this mix of narcotics can easily stop your breathing while you sleep, and can be lethal. Oxycontin is reserved for the most severe pain imaginable, and I can't understand why a doctor would prescribe this level of medication for COPD or arthritis. I think it's teeters on malpracticable. I certainly would question it LOUDLY, if it were me or one of my loved ones. My husband has COPD and arthritis, plus 4 bulging discs from a bad accident - and takes a prescription NSAID medication to manage it. He doesn't have any issue with addiction; it's just common sense to take the safest medication possible. I think you've got to reassess your treatment - and talk to another doctor.
Some doctors become almost immune to the danger of these drugs - when they so routinely prescribe it. I see this most often with surgeons, oncologists and pain management doctors. They've lost sight of the risk, since they write these scripts left and right.
If you can not even remember where you put your pill bottle, that's frightening. Clearly, your dosage is increasing - since your doctor added oxycontin to the percocet! Increasing tolerance to a drug is a huge red flag. You should not be that impaired by routine meds. It sounds like you are in a fog routinely, and that's no way to live.
Oftentimes, when we're in a bad place with a drug, our denial causes us to focus on what someone else is doing - as a way of telling ourselves, "I'm not that bad." But whatever your husband is doing doesn't change the spot you're in, with your own medication use.
You will know the truth - and only the truth can set you free.
Artist, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you all have said. I have an appointment with my PM Dr. next week, and I intend to address all of these issues with him and ask him to start tapering me off of the pain meds so that we can pursue another (opiate-free) course of treatment. Ty all so much. For the first time in years, I actually see a light at the end of the tunnel. God love you.
Brenda, What happened at the Doctor's??Have you been yet?
Please keep posting, and let us know how your doing! Your Posts, and your Journey thru this can help so many others in the same Boat...so Please keep us advised! And Please, don't be ashamed or embarrassed for any "Backward Steps" during your journey...we've ALL been there, every one of us, so never feel ashamed to post truthfully even if you have slid backwards....We are All here to help you any way we can! Believe that!!!
Originally Posted by brendastetler
Shame on everybody who responded by blaming the victim on this site. I came here looking for an answer to a similar problem and instead of giving any usable advice, many of you decided to become medical experts and tell this poor woman that she is an addict. I have seen many doctors and have been using prescription pain meds exactly as prescribed for the past 5 years due to an accident that left me without a surgical solution. I didn't want to be on pain medications but sometimes your choice is to help yourself through medicine or not have a life, consider suicide, etc. I am a well educated, very successful individual. It IS absolutely possible to be physically dependent on pain meds but not be an "addict". Addicts behaviors are much different than the behaviors of compliant users. People who have to rely on pain meds to get through life already have to deal with shame and embarrassment due to people like some of you responders. If you have a good doctor, are being closely monitored,use your medications exactly as prescribed, do not try to seek medications from other legal or illegal methods, you are probably NOT an addict. Do you have a built up tolerance or a physical dependency? Maybe...probably if you have been using the meds for any amount of time. It is the same with any types of medications that you use long term. Thank you to all of you who chose to judge rather than give this woman suggestions to her problem. Shame on you. Unless you know her exact situation, please don't suggest that she is an addict. Ma'am, it does sound like your husband has an addiction problem. I know it seems crazy to have to hide your meds constantly. Your husband needs some kind of help. If you want to stay with him, I would recommend that you insist he gets help. You may be able to find a drug counselor who can give you advice on how to handle things if you need to remain on narcotics long term. Good luck to you.
Sorry I agree with them. She is not in serious enough condition to be on these copious doses of pain meds. She should seek alternative therapies because soon nothing will work for her. She also cannot expect to throw the book at her husband when she's in s pickle herself.
I actually agree with this. It seems as there's an awful lot of people on this thread diagnosing and trying to treat this woman and her husband. I'm going to go ahead and say that no one in here is a Doctor and probably shouldn't be offering diagnoses and medical advice to anyone. Every one is different and only qualified medical doctors should be giving advice and treatment options.
Originally Posted by Not an addict
I made an account to possibly ask a question but I see it's not a good idea with what people are posting on here. This place is not a place to come to for support. Seems to be if some one wants to be judged and talked down to maybe this is a perfect place.
Originally Posted by CaGrown
I responded to this woman's post based upon my own knowledge and experience, and never "diagnosed," "treated" or "judged" anyone. I work in the field of substance abuse, at a long-term treatment center for women. I see addiction every day, and oftentimes, those who become addicts started out completely innocently, taking a legitimate narcotic prescription.
By now, with years of education and experience, I know the warning signs. When I see someone on a slippery slope of potential danger, I speak up, as I did here. I did not come down on her harshly. In fact, I was gratified to see that she responded,
"Artist, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you all have said. I have an appointment with my PM Dr. next week, and I intend to address all of these issues with him and ask him to start tapering me off of the pain meds so that we can pursue another (opiate-free) course of treatment. Ty all so much. For the first time in years, I actually see a light at the end of the tunnel. God love you."
This is a good place to come to get information from others who have some similar experiences; it is mostly laypersons, and no one claims to be a medical doctor. We share what we know. But this is not a place to come if you want someone to tell you only what you want to hear. We're dealing with a lethal disease, and this woman posted concerns about some very powerful pain meds. As a COPD patient, taking narcotics is exceedingly risky. So we spoke up about it.
There is a "question/answer" section to this forum that seems to be more about placating posters. I rarely post there, as it seems to be more about being kind than about being accurate. But if that's what you want, it is available.
You will know the truth - and only the truth can set you free.