Monday, August 4, 2008

Opiates for the masses


Prescription opiate addiction in Houston and the secret world that facilitates it

By Anonymouse


“Well, Doctor, I got into a car accident, hurt my back, and can’t sleep at night," I told the crooked doc as confidently as possible. We both knew that was bullshit. He mumbles under his breath and writes me a prescription, lickety-split. “That’s it?” I asked myself. So there I had it: A prescription in hand for 150 Lorcets, 100 Xanax, and 100 Soma. There are dozens of these crooked ‘Pain Management Clinics’ here in Houston and across the nation that conveniently facilitate legions of prescription opiate addictions.

I began experimenting with Vicodin pills in high school. Man, those things made me feel so good. They helped me shove everything else to the side and made me feel like what I was doing was worthwhile. However, back then, they were really hard to come by. That was until I met Brian. He was giving them to me at a cheap price, or so I thought, as I indiscriminately took what I could. It did not seem like anything bad. I mean, it was just a pill. Next thing I know, I am taking ten to twelve a day.

After growing tired of paying street value, I decided to ask Brian how he was getting them so cheap and how I could flip a few to make some money back. That’s when he introduced me to the glamorous world of Pain Management Clinics. Houston is bursting with these crooked doctors that make great livelihoods on others' misery. He took me to an innocuous building off of Beltway 8 at West Bellfort. I had no idea what I was getting into. You enter what seems like an ordinary doctor’s office yet it is teeming with armed security. You fill out your entry form as you watch junkies rushing to fill theirs out to get their precious goods. Now, the waiting room is packed full of hungry fiends exchanging information about better deals on their drugs and who they know that can help you out. People are there to get everything from Lean (Codeine cough syrup), Vicodins, Lorcets, Percocets, etc. But in the end, it’s all the same shit. Now, these places are so packed that they call patients into the doctor’s office in groups of ten. To give a veneer of legitimacy, they then scuttle patients momentarily into individual rooms. Even the nurses are shady. After a 45 second ‘discussion’ with the ‘doctor’, you are raced out of the door with the quickness in which you came in. The visit costs 90 dollars. Funny thing is that there are junkies outside the door propositioning you to buy a few from you. No way. Why would I let you in on my hard earned harvest? Then comes the doozy. The back of the prescription has a list of the shady pharmacies that will fill these out and give you the opiates. These are the kind of pharmacies with burglar bars. See, your standard Walgreens or CVS won’t touch these illicit prescriptions. So you are forced to make your way to ‘mom and pop’ pharmacies that are used to filling these orders as much as they get robbed. After handing over my 140 dollars, they doled me out my precious 300 pills. I remember sitting in my car staring at this huge, beautiful bottle thinking, “ I am set.” I made plans around these bottles. I had a few weeks of peace of mind. Opiate addicts always feel like their running out though. Nevertheless, the great thing was that I had legit bottles with my name on it. That means if I got pulled over, a cop couldn’t stick me with the felony per pill I was carrying. I returned to this place a handful of times. Unfortunately, at the time, patients were only allowed to enter this place once a month. Bummer.

For at least 18 months, I was steady taking nearly a dozen a day and feeling diminishing returns on the effects. One day, at my retail job in the mall, I ran out of pills and had one of the worst withdrawal episodes of my life. Waking up feeling like death, I got ready for work with cold sweats. I shit my pants on the way to work. Violently feeling the effects of no opiates, I lied down on the floor behind the cash register hoping no customers would enter the store. You see, opiate junkies get body pains, visceral stomach pains from their nerve endings desiring the drug. It’s like having the flu on steroids. I remember lying in bed punching the wall and being angry with God. I soon became tired of this life and found the fortitude to at least try to get off the opiates. I went through several unsuccessful attempts and worked my way back onto the drug. My life at the time was one big plane crash and Vicodin was my parachute. I struggled back and forth like this for months until I had the guts to look inward and see my desperation. I was no longer myself. I was enslaved to getting these pills. After many physical struggles, lots of soul searching and a few spiritual LSD trips, I have managed to stay away from the addiction for some time now. However, if you met the old me and you had a few ‘beans’ in your pocket right now, I would start to sweat. I would be oblivious to anything else. I just might think about breaking your neck and hiding you behind a building.


* Two million Americans use prescription opioid painkillers every year

* Abuse of prescription painkillers has overtaken that of cocaine and marijuana.

* About 9% of the U.S. population has used pain relievers illegally in their lifetime (according to the 2002 NHSDA--National Household Survey on Drug Abuse).

* An estimated 1.6 million Americans used prescription-type pain relievers non-medically for the first time in 1998.

* Among youths age 12-17, the incident rate increased from 6.3 to 32.4 per 1,000 new users from 1990 to 1998.

* Young adults age 18-25 increased in first use from 7.7 to 20.3 per 1,000 new users between 1990 and 1998.

* Prescription Opiate abuse is more prevalent than Heroin


* Source: SAMHSA U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


1 Comments:

At August 17, 2008 5:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

brian, huh?

 

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