Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Diary: Another Update on Methadone vs Morphine

Well, did I get some good news or what ... SROM (slow release oral morphine) might be an option for me. Though rarely handed out, the specialist informed me that he has previously applied to the health department for a morphine permit for an existing methadone patient. It is rare for this to happen due to Australia's health policy and it took me to ask the specific question to get an answer. 

He carefully went through every other option and continually made notes being very careful to gauge if I was legitimate or not. The appointment went for over an hour which is along time for a specialist of his calibre. He was very thorough and would often pause to think, sometimes up to 2 minutes. If you have ever sat starring at a doctor for 2 minutes in silence, it can be eerie. 

Does he believe me? Have I tripped myself up?, Is he asleep? The result is not straight forward as he needs to discuss the option with the local D & A counsellor I had met with previously and my methadone doctor. He has recommended I go on anti-depressants again and see a shrink for 3 months. If this fails, he then has more of a case for the health department to give me SROM. 

God, I am so glad that there might finally be some relief in sight. I wish like hell methadone worked better for me so I could get my life back but after nearly 10 years, I am sure I need to try something else. 

The vital element to dealing with substitute treatments is to have options. The government needs to listen to the specialists - the more options, the better. Drug addiction is extremely complex but add into the mix, mental health issues and you have a medical minefield called Dual Diagnosis or Co-occurring Disorders (COD). 

It is hard enough for medical experts to grasp but somehow politicians (and much of the public) don't have a problem with recommending a solution ... jail. 

Each addict has unique reasons and situations for their condition and having only a few options is the result of irresponsible health policy. Abstinence is the best option and should be the ultimate goal. If that doesn't work, then counselling and substitute treatment if needed. Substitute treatment is very limited at the moment and we have many viable options at our fingertips but the politicians are too weak to let them be trailed especially diacetylmorphine (heroin).

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