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    Journalist looking to talk to folks who buy Suboxone 
    #1
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    Hi! I'm a journalist for Pacific Standard, a national magazine based in Santa Barbara, California. I've been seeing in the research literature that people sometimes buy Suboxone off the black market. I was wondering if any BlueLighters do and would be willing to talk to me about why. Is medication-assisted treatment not available in your area? Is it a question of cost? Another reason?

    You can reach out to me here or email me at fdiep@psmag.com. I'd love to talk over the phone or Skype! I can give you my number over email.

    To tell you a little more about Pacific Standard and me: Pacific Standard covers social justice and whether governments use research-based policy. We're a nonprofit, supported by a fund established by our founder, who made her money in publishing scientific journals. I'm a science-trained journalist, and I cover drug and health policy for PS. You can see my portfolio at franciediep.com and psmag.com/@franciediep

    Let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for considering my request,
    Francie Diep
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    #2
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    Good luck on finding BL interviews for your article!

    Pacific Standard
    Last edited by neversickanymore; 21-04-2017 at 21:18.
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    I'd be happy to speak with you francie_d about my experience with buprenorphine, both getting it on and off the black market (not as a staff member of BL but as a member of the drug using community).

    Quote this message in your reply or send me a PM to alert me to your response and I will be happy to get in touch with you.
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    I just want to say that Francie's work has been published in major, important outlets and it is very level-headed and science-based, which is exactly what we need more of.
    It does not adopt the various drug war perspectives and biases that often result in mass-media slant in reporting on drugs.
    If you would like to try to fight against the drug war, this may be one good way to do it.
    Please help her if you can.
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    Thanks, neversickanymore, toothpastedog, and slimvictor! I'd love to talk to as many people as I can, so please don't let toothpastedog's response deter you if you're also willing to talk.

    By the way, I recently went to a conference where a lot of big U.S. government officials made promises about what they'll do for the country's overdose epidemic. Here's my report from it, if you're interested: https://psmag.com/assessing-trumps-p...ds-484aae1a9c7 This was the conference: https://vendome.swoogo.com/2017-rx-summit/

    I should have more stories coming out of that conference soon. There was some new data presented about changes to the U.S.' heroin supply, which I thought was interesting. Let me know if there's anything you want to know from the meeting.
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    #6
    I'll put the article up (or part of) in this forum francie, let me know if that's not ok and I can easily take it down.
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    I'd be willing to be interviewed. I've bought sub off the street and at the doctor. I've also withdrawn from it and used it intravenous which is supposed to be impossible.
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    Thanks, poledriver & cj!
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    Just got off the phone with her. Had a wonderful little chat for about an hour. Really awesome person! I'm looking forward to seeing her article on this.

    Keep up the great work Francie!
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    #10
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    Yeah I am looking forward to the article as well
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    #11
    Sometimes people buy it because they don't have insurance, need to keep from getting dopesick, can't find a bupe treatment program that will admit them for whatever reason, the minimal recreational value it holds, etc. Everybody has a different reason.
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    Thanks for the kind words, toothpastedog! I had a fun time talking with you and cj both.

    iamthesuck, that totally makes sense that different people have different reasons. The few surveys I've found about illicit Suboxone use say the same thing: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3293107/ It helps me a lot to hear people's specific, personal stories, though. I think it helps the writing, too, if you have real-life examples.

    I'm still looking for interviews, so let me know if you're willing to talk! Thanks, everyone.
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    #13
    I bought it all the time on the black market back when i was dependent. When you are dope sick you kind of can't wait 1 month to get an appointment. You need it right then.

    Also, the fact that if you smoked weed you would get thrown out of suboxone treatment to be forced back to heroin was stupid.
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    Hey guys, I wanted to update you. I don't think we're going to do the Suboxone story, after all. I found some good, big stories about black-market buprenorphine use in the Village Voice and New York Times, and I didn't want to end up with a story too similar to what's already been done. (I would note that the headlines on these stories are sensationalizing, but the reporting in them is good. An eternal problem in journalism!)

    http://www.villagevoice.com/2013/10/...-to-stay-high/
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/he...pagewanted=all

    I'm bummed: I hate having people share their stories and time with me and then not being able to write anything. Let me know if you guys are seeing anything new happening that you don't think has been covered in the media, that you wish voters and lawmakers knew about.

    Does tagging work on here? OK just in case it does: cj, toothpastedog
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    That's kind of a shame about the voice article. I found it kind of disappointing. They tried so hard, yet their portrayal is riddled with issues... perhaps it's a good thing you aren't writing this? Staying away from a messy subject (then again, a lot has changed in people's views on buprenorphine in the last three years - maybe it would be done differently today).

    Anyways, no worries. That's too bad you couldn't do the project you wanted. I do have an idea for you:

    Do you happen know anything about naloxone (Narcan)? Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that brings overdosing opioid users back from the brink of death, saving their lives. It has been in the news more and more within the coverage of the whole opioid related overdose thing.

    Sometimes you hear about difficulties due to naloxone's legal/prescription only status restrictions in most places. Despite not having any recreational use or serious side effects associated with its use, it can be very hard to find OTC in most places due to its prescription status. You also hear a lot of stories about how folks are trying to get laws passed requiring first responders to carry it with them (so police, EMTs, etc).

    However, in my experience the biggest hurdle accessing this life saving medication is scarcity. I believe there is still only one company making it for use in the US, and they not only charge a high dollar price for it but also make only limited quantities (if things are the same way there were a year or two ago, they essentially have a monopoly on the naloxone racket - it isn't a big money maker so most pharma manufacturing companies don't seem interested).

    Of course, where it's legal to carry it around, you can get it from your local needle exchange (that is, assuming you live in a major city and there is one near you...). But if a doctor were to prescribe it and you had to get it at a pharmacy, good luck. Even in a major city such like LA, it took five or six different pharmacies before I could find somewhere that had it (the wait time on the order that one of the other stores would have had was much longer than the usual 24-72hrs; this was however before Prop. 47).

    If they're are supposedly serious about putting Narcan into the hands of those who need it most, more laws allowing its OTC sale and requiring first responders to carry the medication would be an awesome first step. But the bigger issue is cost and availability (especially availability). The latter factors are really seem to be significant factors shaping the medication's impact.

    In any case, a story about the ease/difficult of acquiring Narcan would be interesting
    Last edited by toothpastedog; 23-05-2017 at 06:05.
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    #16
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    Thanks! I didn't know there was any issue with naloxone supply--that's interesting. I do know that several companies make it, and many have raised their prices drastically in the last few years. There's a good overview here, under "Affordability of Naloxone": https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/04/2...-united-states
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    Quote Originally Posted by francie_d View Post
    Hi! I'm a journalist for Pacific Standard, a national magazine based in Santa Barbara, California.
    It IS an unexpectedly interesting magazine, kids.

    (Can I get a script? That's about as praising as I get)
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by francie_d View Post
    Hey guys, I wanted to update you. I don't think we're going to do the Suboxone story, after all. I found some good, big stories about black-market buprenorphine use in the Village Voice and New York Times, and I didn't want to end up with a story too similar to what's already been done. (I would note that the headlines on these stories are sensationalizing, but the reporting in them is good. An eternal problem in journalism!)

    http://www.villagevoice.com/2013/10/...-to-stay-high/
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/he...pagewanted=all

    I'm bummed: I hate having people share their stories and time with me and then not being able to write anything. Let me know if you guys are seeing anything new happening that you don't think has been covered in the media, that you wish voters and lawmakers knew about.

    Does tagging work on here? OK just in case it does: cj, toothpastedog

    Chronic pain patients that don't abuse drugs losing their scripts they've often had for decades and killing themselves. All because of a heroin epidemic which that have absolutely nothing to do with.

    Its a story that doesn't get told nearly enough. Here is a local news special on the topic

    http://www.wesh.com/article/state-of...lems-1/4445500

    some juridstictions have experienced blow back and taken action, like orlando for examples is requiring continuing education as a result of this for pharmacits geared at sensitivity dealing with pain patients.

    Unfortunately the real issue is that no matter how much doctors and pharmacists want to help...they are being jailed and prosecuted by the DEA and limited so their hands are tied.


    DEA, take away your pain medicine, lets massive amounts of heroin into the country (thank god), then jails you for switching your medication to black market heroin so you don't kill yourself from the pain.
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    #19
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    That is such a good time old story too, how doctors have been prevented from practicing according to their patients' needs first and foremost. Doctors rights being curtailed under drug policy has been going on for at least 100 years now. It's a significant part of the history of American medicine.
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    #20
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    Thanks for the update. Maybe it's for the best the article didn't get written. I often think that the less specific drugs are mentioned in the media the better it is for those who consume said drugs.

    I would like to see a story on how the new administration is going to tackle the opioid crisis while cutting 3 billion dollars from medicaid. With an emphasis on the fact that drug traffickers aren't going to be stopped by more border agents or a shitty wall. Also the fact that abstinence based rehab is extremely innefective even when the latest science is applied which isn't very often unfortunately.

    The entire rehab industry needs to be exposed for the fraud they perpetrate on desperate families. People mortgage . here houses on false claims and pseudoscience. If rehabs where truthful about there success rate 3-7 percent depending on studiy then the whole country might take a differant view on drug policy.
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    Wow, thanks so much for these ideas!

    About rehabs, cj, I have heard of clinics that taper pregnant women off MAT, which isn't standard practice and makes me wonder if the staff at those places are telling women that it's better, when there really isn't science behind it. But I've also seen forum posts where pregnant women themselves really want that taper. So I wonder where the push for tapering is really coming from.
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    Srofula: Ha, thanks! I gave away my freebies already, but it's <$2/issue if you sub right now on the website :P
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    #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by francie_d View Post
    Wow, thanks so much for these ideas!

    About rehabs, cj, I have heard of clinics that taper pregnant women off MAT, which isn't standard practice and makes me wonder if the staff at those places are telling women that it's better, when there really isn't science behind it. But I've also seen forum posts where pregnant women themselves really want that taper. So I wonder where the push for tapering is really coming from.
    What do you mean there is no science behind or recorded track record of the utility of using methadone to detox pregnant women?
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    I think they usually keep pregnant women on methadone maintenance to not risk their pregnancy
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    #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by francie_d View Post
    Wow, thanks so much for these ideas!

    About rehabs, cj, I have heard of clinics that taper pregnant women off MAT, which isn't standard practice and makes me wonder if the staff at those places are telling women that it's better, when there really isn't science behind it. But I've also seen forum posts where pregnant women themselves really want that taper. So I wonder where the push for tapering is really coming from.
    That's scary if true. As far as I know the medical evidence is clear that you don't do anything to put a pregnant person into opiate withdrawal taper or not. Most women want to do the right thing and staying on opuates is kinda counterintuitive buts that's why we pay obgyns to be experts at this. Rehabs are shady and often ill informed so I have no doubt what you heard is true. I know in Alabama the licensing rules for rehabs deal with building plans and fire escapes not treatment methods
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