Opiate Dependant? 5 Tips for Surviving the Silly Season
Christmas is fast approaching and while it is a time for good cheer for many, it can also be a right royal pain in the arse if you happen to be dependant on heroin or another opiate. I thought it would be fitting therefore to offer up some survival tips for getting through the pitfalls of the silly season.*
Survival Tip #1: Doctors go on holidays
Yes, doctors like many other people, often go on holidays during this period. Sometimes they are not very good at letting you know that they are about to take a week or two off for a little rest and relaxation. If you are on a pharmacotherapy like methadone or suboxone make sure you check with your prescriber to see if they are going away. Plan ahead and you are less likely to be caught short without a prescription.
Survival Tip #2: Pharmacists like to celebrate the silly season as well
Obviously a prescription for something like methadone or suboxone is no good unless there is a pharmacist that can dispense it. Pharmacies may limit their hours or indeed be closed on public holidays like Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years. Again it can pay to check this out in advance, so that you can start putting alternate plans in place if you need to.
Survival Tip #3: Oh did I mention that people who sell drugs sometimes go on holidays too?
Which might mean you end up scoring off somebody you don’t normally buy drugs from. This sometimes leads to greater risk and you are less likely to have any idea about the quality of the substances that you are purchasing, so be careful and take a small ‘test’ amount first.
Survival Tip #4: Make sure you have lots of sterile equipment
Some Needle Syringe Programs and also pharmacies that supply sterile injecting equipment are likely to be closed on the public holidays so it pays to plan ahead and stock up on injecting equipment in advance.
Survival Tip #5: Make sure you know who to call.
Despite our best laid plans sometimes it still ends up going pear shaped. If you are in Victoria (Australia that is) you can call DirectLine 1800 888 236. This service can help you locate a pharmacotherapy prescriber and/or dispenser, as well as needle syringe programs.
*(Please note that these tips are based on my observations of pharmacotherapy and NSP programs in Australia. Different circumstances may apply in other countries.)