He hasn't complained about his feet for about a year now but the VA keeps refilling the RX without seeing him. We all know it's a problem but he won't admit it. If he finishes the RX, he buys the from a guy at work or gets them from his dad. The hair test is the only thing I can think of to prove to him he has a problem.
A hair test would show that he has been taking the hydrocodone but not whether he has a problem. By problem I assume you mean an addiction? If he has been taking the hydrocodone regularly for two years than his body has become dependent on the medication such that if he were to stop taking it, he would experience withdrawals. If he is taking the prescribed amount and truly needs the pain relief, then I would not assume he has a problem. On the other hand, if he is taking more than the prescribed amount, or buying off the street, then yes, he may well have a serious problem.
I'm not sure what you wish to prove by a hair test. Testing only proves that he is taking a drug not if he is dependent or addicted to the drug. The fact that he finishes his prescription early and then buys off the street or gets them from buddies is more indicative of a problem. This means he is taking more than the prescribed amount which constitutes abuse. I would suggest that you phone his Drs office at the VA and clue them in to this little tidbit that he runs out early and buys off the street or gets more from friends. His Dr is irresponsible for filling an opioid prescription without seeing him. The Dr is putting his license at risk by doing this not to mention putting his patient at risk by not following up properly. I would try, first, to see if you can talk to the Dr or his nurse and explain the situation and that you are worried your husband may be becoming addicted.
If they refuse or give you a hard time, you may need to get tough with them and tell them that you are going to report them to the Board of Medical Examiners that this Dr is prescribing opioids without seeing the patient (but dont make threats unless you get absolutely nowhere with them) Try first to tell them your concerns. It could be likely that your husband is suffering from depression or perhaps PTSD and is self medicating for mental pain now rather than physical pain and perhaps he needs to see the VA psychiatrist for an evaluation which his primary Dr can set up.This primary Dr should be seeing your husband at a minimum of every 3 months while prescribing opioids like hydrocodone. Many Drs insist on monthly visits for patients on opioids. Another approach is to do a family intervention with all of your husbands loved ones and let him know that you all are worried and that you think he is having a problem. The thing with addiction is that the addicted person MUST realize themselves that there is indeed a problem. Until he does that and wishes to make a change, recovery is impossible. You cannot MAKE someone come clean. They have to want it for themselves. Sometimes it takes all of the addicted persons loved ones coming forth and pouring their hearts out and making the person see what his behaviors are doing to his family. This is a tough one for you for sure. I just dont think that a hair test will help prove anything but the fact that a drug is present in his system and you all already KNOW that! Another thing for you to consider for yourself is Al-anon meetings for families of people with substance abuse problems. They will help teach you ways that you may be enabling his behavior and they may help you find a way to help your husband see how his behavior is hurting his loved ones as well as himself. Plus, it is good to be with other families going through the same issues and hear how they are dealing with the issues. Good luck to you and keep in touch here on the site. We have a lot of great people on here who are willing to help!
- Hydrocodone Information for Consumers
- Hydrocodone Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Hydrocodone (detailed)
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