DIARY: As you probably know, I am on SROM(slow release oral morphine) now instead of methadone and it’s amazing the difference it makes to my life. The problem is that my tolerance is growing slowly as my body adapts to the opiates. It took me years to get my methadone levels right and even then I changed it at least twice a year. So I went to the doctor and he gave me a long story about the health department and schedule 8 drugs.
Morphine cannot be prescribed to anyone for the treatment of addiction. I already know this and my prescription is primarily to manage my pain. For a heroin addict like myself who was on methadone, morphine is usually a big no-no and it took an application from a pharmacotherapist, the OK of a D & A counsellor and permission from my doctor to get a permit from the health department. Now that my tolerance is rising, I need my dosage to increase which is common for long term morphine patients. I was told flat out that I would need to see the pharmacotherapist again to get another recommendation, return to my doctor and he can then make another submission to the health department. All this will take about a month. My doctor explained that he thought it was ridiculous and was not impressed with the circumspection of the health department.
So what are my options over the next month? I already use heroin once a month and I don’t want to increase that but I can’t think of any alternatives. These are the silly illogical policies that I am faced with. If they are so paranoid about me abusing drugs, why make it so hard to obtain legal medication? They must know there is no alternative except for magically just getting through this period. Jeepers.
I am convinced SROM should be an alternative for methadone. My doctor’s first words to me the other day were, “How’s it going ... I bet you’re doing a lot better now?”. And he was right. I know some countries use SROM but why it isn’t used more often is a shame. It’s understandable though as the fear of diversion must be overwhelming for the authorities. The fear that a tiny percentage might hock their medication must terrify them. A long term addict like myself needs their meds and would not risk going through the cycle of rise-money-score-sleep again. Long term addicts are the small percentage who have tried everything to quit but have some medical issue stopping them. I realise the importance of stability and the daily ritual of stabilising with substitution treatment is the only thing keeping my life together. 3 months ago I was ready to give up, now I am getting back into the swing of life. The reason is simply a different medication - SROM.