Methodone clinic client pleads for compassion and understanding

To The Expositor:

I would like to write about my experiences regarding the methadone maintenance program. I would like to have everyone’s attention and respect and hope that the majority of people understand what I am trying to achieve.

I am speaking on behalf of the situation with the methadone maintenance program. The methadone clinic has to quit their services in Little Current and has been refused to relocate elsewhere on the Island and methadone patients are devastated and left with few options and one of them is to travel to Sudbury twice a week to see the doctor and do urine screens and get their methadone drink. The other option is to discontinue the program and taper off methadone in 30 days, which doesn’t seem possible. The last option is to enter a different methadone treatment clinic. People are going through hardships and they can’t handle this. It will be cheaper to go back on drugs than travel to Sudbury. That is what the outcome is going to be, if something is not done to help all the people on methadone. People who have the power to help should welcome the methadone treatment clinic and provide it somewhere on the Island.

I try to be as truthful as I can be and stand up for what I believe in: I believe that the methadone maintenance program truly helps individuals with an addiction problem and that it delivers positive outcomes. I know this because I witness it and I personally had a life-changing experience from it.

People only hear the negative side of methadone and not the factual benefits of it. People see methadone as an intricate and dangerous drug but I see it as a conventional medication to treat illnesses and addiction is a mental and physical illness that needs to be treated.

How do people know that methadone program is going to be a catastrophe without giving it a chance? I took a risk and gave it a chance and never regret doing it because it revived my life when I thought I was already six feet under.

I was addicted to narcotics for five years and kept it a secret because I was ashamed of myself and tried everything to stop and quit many times but always ended up relapsing. The addiction took over me. I never had money, I would lie and, the worst, I neglected my daughters. This one particular time I drove a person out to get some Percocets so I could have some and when we got back to their place, all I can hear is crying and while that person was calming down her babies, I was looking around to see if anyone else was there, but there was no one. At that moment my heart stopped and I almost started to cry. I felt so bad that those two one-year-old babies were left alone and looked real scared. I hear stories of parents leaving their children alone to go get high or look for drugs. Then I realized “The Power of Addiction.” It hurts children and it does not make people bad parents, it makes parents make bad choices.

I had deep thoughts on my addiction and how it took my soul. I was planning to give up my girls to foster care because I was sick and depressed from pills and did not want my girls to suffer for my actions and live in my world of addiction. I was also considering taking my own life because I hated myself and did not want to live my life. Then I referred myself to the Addiction Services Initiative (ASI) program and entered the methadone program and persevered.

Being helped by both programs saved my life and gave me the patience and hope for recovery. Now my girls and I are happy and I thank the creator for giving me two beautiful girls to live for. I am now clean and have been since May 2011 and this is the longest I have ever been drug free. I did not do it alone, I had the ASI program to help me every step of the way and this motivated me to live a healthier lifestyle and to be confident and strong. I am really grateful that the ASI program is here for us and that they have faith in all their clients. I don’t want to be on methadone for the rest of my life; I want to get off and stay clean and healthy, but I don’t feel ready and I’m scared. I think there should be a program designed to help people to get ready to come off methadone and rehabilitate them when they are no longer on methadone. I think the important factor is to contrive a way to get people off methadone when they feel ready.

I think having the program available on the Island will be beneficial for everyone. I think people just have to have hope and patience in the program. I believe it will be more convenient for people, especially the ones employed or seeking employment. And gives others the opportunity to join the program who are struggling with addiction and help them to build stronger, healthier families.

Addiction hurts, especially children whose parents are strongly addicted. Who is going to help those children who are hungry and left alone? “The Power of Addiction” hurts everyone and we as a community should do all we can do for our people, because that is who we are, people who love each other.

I am scared to get off because I hear of the withdrawals being intense and that it fluctuates low to very high within five to 10 days. Withdrawals from methadone should be monitored carefully. I believe a program should be broken down into four steps.

1. The start: people are treated with methadone for their addiction;

2. Progress state: people become clean and obtain carries and are recovering well;

3. Weaning, encouraging people to go down slowly and prepare them for change; and

4. Rehabilitate: help the people who are withdrawn from the methadone program.

Amanda Eshkibok