Friday, April 24, 2009

Wherein DuWayne Rants About the #$@&ing Drug Laws

Before I start, I would really like to recommend that you take a listen to Gabriela Montero. I recently discovered her whilst listening to one of my Pandora stations and her playing made me weep for the beauty and the passion with which she throws herself into her variations and compositions. Gabriela is a wholly remarkable pianist, a child prodigy who has matured into brilliant and nuanced composer. And she is also great stress relief...

I have had a not so grand day today. It started well enough, though not as productively as I might have wished. And I had a fantastic visit with the doctor, where we discussed my meds and how the new regimen has been working out. We decided to double my dose of Wellbutrin, from 100mg in the morning to 100mg in the morning and another at lunch (something I was going to do a couple weeks ago, but chose to wait because he wanted to see me to add the extra dose). I was actually feeling pretty damned good when I left the doctor's office - almost three and I had only smoked two cigarettes all day.

How quickly things can change. Today I discovered just how fragile a thing, this thing that is my calm and collect self.


The fucking war on drugs put me on the verge of a nervous fucking breakdown today. Though I was heading that way when I went to get my scripts filled in the first place.

My fucking Wellbutrin costs eighty-six fucking dollars as a fucking generic. Eighty-six dollars!!! And the version I am taking is not available much cheaper anywhere - including mail order. I very nearly started crying in the fucking store when they told me that. I'm working on getting help with my scripts through the state, but the wheels turn slowly. My folks are helping out some, but that just stresses me out more, because I don't want to be a fucking burden on them at thirty-two years old. I was frustrated and angry and decided to hold off on that one to see if I could find to cheaper elsewhere, or if there might be another option for finding Bupropion for less, but in the same dose as I've been taking.

No such luck, this time around.

So I decide to get it filled and owe my parents even more. Fucking yeah for me!!! I headed back to Wal-Mart and handed the women at the window the script, having completely forgotten that I had been told earlier (when I dropped off the others) that they were out of that one anyways. The women at the window punched it all into the computer and told me it would be about twenty minutes, so I sat down to wait. After about half an hour, the women who had originally taken my scripts came out to remind me that they were out of that particular dosage of Wellbutrin. Mind you, the women who had taken the script had seen me sitting there several times, while helping other fucking customers - never once occurred to her to let me know that I couldn't get my fucking drug. Nor did they consider just fucking calling me to tell me - if they hadn't noticed (they are usually really good about calling for stuff like that and they weren't very busy).

What the fuck does this have to do with the war in drugs, you ask?

I had a check with me, written for the total cost of all three of my scripts. And even though another Wal-Mart has the Welbutrin, I couldn't pay for it at the one I was in. So I had to transfer the other two to the other fucking pharmacy as well. The only problem being that Clonidine and Ritalin are controlled fucking substances and they can't be called in. They can't be faxed over and apparently, they can't even get them ready in anticipation of the fucking paper script being brought in. Nor can they be refilled - every month, my doctor has to write another script for me.

Of course I had wasted nearly half an hour sitting in fucking Wal-Mart before I became aware that I would have to go to another store - about half an hour across town. And not only would I have to run over there to get them, I would have to fucking wait there while they filled my other two scripts - because we have the most ridiculous fucking drug laws ever. Mind you, it was close to dinner time and a friend of mine was joining us. I was about fifteen minutes late when it was all over with. (Though I did get a text from the most beautiful and brilliant women in the world, who just seems to know when a text from her is going to take the edge off of stressful situations - thanks Juniper)

My problems today and with getting more than thirty days worth of my meds at a time, are far from the only egregious intrusion that our draconian drug laws have thrust into medicine. Because of course, there is also the war on pain management to be considered. You know, the war in which not only patients who doctor shop and fraudulently acquire multiple scripts for the same pain killers (often times to sell them) got to jail, but even doctors who appear to be over prescribing and patients who are engaged in a good faith pain management regimen with their (only) prescribing doctor.

I am so fucking tired of this paternalistic fucking bullshit! This has gotten beyond fucking ridiculous - went beyond that point fucking years ago. The war on drugs interferes with the ability of doctors to care for patients, therapists to freely help drug addicts and substance abusers and patients to have reasonably simple and rather less costly access to their medications.

Fuck You drug warriors - Every MotherFucking One of You!!!


leigh said...

dude. been there. let me tell you, i've got stories.

Juniper Shoemaker said...

I'm filling my last bupropion prescription at Wal-Mart tomorrow. I've tried to avoid it, but I am fast becoming the disaster I am when I'm not on meds/not on enough meds, and I need to be able to get a lot of shit done. My prescription is for sixty tablets at 200 mg apiece, so it will cost me about $170. So. On this issue, I can definitely, definitely empathize! I'm really sorry about this.

I'm sorry you had a hard day in general. I look forward to talking to you. :)

DuWayne Brayton said...

leigh -

You would be most welcome to share them...

Juniper -

Me too!! And seriously, your text came at the perfect moment today...

leigh said...

the worst involved a post-op nightmare, where the first rx ran out before he could really stand/walk/sit up yet, and i had to haul his miserable ass across town (had not yet gotten authorization to use the pharmacy half a mile from our new apartment) so that they could hand him the prescription. because handing it to his wife, who has the insurance card with both our fucking names on it, whose signature is on the hospital release paperwork, is not sufficient.

not that they'd know i was handling the business, the doctor appointments, the big-time bills, fighting the insurance, playing caretaker, and working full time just to support him while he recovered. i'm just some fucking drug seeker looking for a good time.

during our 7-doctor search for treatment for the problem, we were treated like shit because they all suspected us of being drug seekers, too. yep, i really enjoy driving 45 minutes to your office in the middle of fucking nowhere and handing you $250 out of my own pocket for you to tell me i'm a piece of shit. especially when gas is $4/gal and i'm supporting 2 people and major medical bills on a grad student stipend. and having to get up at 3:30am to work a few hours before taking time out of my day to take him to said asshole doctor, then work late to make up for the time i missed...

Toaster Sunshine said...

This is weird. There's no way the chemicals in these drugs cost nearly that much. I mean, with $10 in reagents you can make 500g of aspirin (although I don't think I'd do so since one of the synthesis steps involves highly toxic ferric chloride and I'd not trust my recrystallization to get it all out, even if I had designed the reaction to have it as the limited reagent*), so how can these chemicals, not much more complex, cost SO much more? Either someone is walking away to the bank whistling and laughing or they're using unicorn piss as a reagent.

*That I have a B.S. in molecular biology, which involves heavy heavy chemistry, is why I had to go through several layers of federal regulation, background checks, and certification just to buy some motherfucking Gram's iodide for the lab! Iodide is apparently used to make methamphetamines.

Becca said...

Your cost out of pocket for Buproprion seemed about 2X what it should be. And then I remembered that my pharmacy is part of some kind of government subsidy program because enough of the people that use it are low income.

Note to self- if I get kicked out of grad school maybe I can get a gig in policy advising and divert funding from "Drug war" to enhanced prescription drug benefits.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you are referring to the prescription drug monitoring program,and yea I agree with you that's a bummer having to jump through all the hoops and superfluous procedure just to get your prescriptions filled. I believe they use the prescription drug monitoring program to locate patients who are found to be "doctor shopping" although I don't feel that a majority of patients (like you) should have to pay for what a a small percentage of people are doing.

The war on drugs is an abysmal failure, anyway you look at it.What's even more peculiar is the fact that there are more people in America dying from the adverse reactions to prescription drugs and drug overdoses from prescription drugs than people dying from overdosing on illegal drugs, pharmacuetical companies have no conscience.

According to various medical studies pharmaceuticals are the fourth-leading national cause of death after heart disease,cancer and stroke.The CDC reported in 2005 that prescription drug overdoses killed 33,000 people that year, 10,000 people died in 1990 of the same causes.So from 1990 to 2005 prescription drug overdoses more than tripled and those figures don't even include the number of deaths from adverse reactions from prescription drugs. Maybe people should consider psychologist over psychiatrist.

Here are two really good articles on the subject

Anonymous said...

Here are some more links to the prescription drug problem in America!&id=2106660

Anonymous said...

Interesting facts:

Approximately 130 million Americans swallow, inject, inhale, spray, infuse, & pat on prescribed medication every month as indicated by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Americans fill many more prescriptions than any other country.

The number of prescriptions have risen dramastically over the past decade by two-thirds. Currently, over 3.5 billion prescriptions are filled each year. Polls suggest that Americans devour even more non prescription drugs.

While the pharmaceutical industry took in over $250 billion in sales last year, 125,000 Americans died from drug reactions. This makes the pharmaceutical industry the fourth- leading national cause of death after heart disease, cancer, & stroke.

Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine & Author of "The Truth About the Drug Companies" says, "we are taking too many drugs for dubious or exaggerated ailments." "What the drug companies are doing now is promoting drugs for long-term use to essentially healthy people. Why? Because it is the biggest market."

In 2002, two million pediatric prescriptions were written for Paxil alone, many to toddlers. According to a Medico Health Solutions analysis of customer data, the use of behavioral medications for children topped all other areas of drugs in 2003 at 17% of total spending.

This compared to 16% for antibiotics and asthma drugs, 11% for skin conditions, and six% for allergy meds. Antidepressants spending grew by 21% over a three-year period and ADHD by 369% (no typo) compared to 4.3% in the use of antibiotics.