Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Evan's codeine problem

"Brenda", Evan's social worker, came over today (Monday) for the regular goal review appointment. We agreed ahead of time that we should talk to Evan about stress & anxiety. Maybe if we focused on the external stressors in his life we could get him to agree that even big strong men who don't need anyone's help can benefit from a little short term counseling.

In the first part of the discussion we covered his goals and learned that he wasn't really doing the on-line psychic thing anymore. (Not that it was wrong, of course. He just wasn't doing it.) And then we openeded the discussion about anxiety and depression over his cousin's death.


Over about half an hour Evan made the following claims. By the way, it may appear that some of the later statements contradict the earlier ones, but he would insist that they were all true:

He has no trouble with stress or anxiety. Over the course of his life he has learned to cope with everything. There is nothing any counselor can teach him. He is really good at pushing away all the emotions. Of course the codeine helps. It dulls the edges. It's like there are really bright colors and the codeine calms it down. It isn't a big thing -- kids at school are "tweaking" and "rolling" all the time. He is not getting high. He is just taking the codeine to help him cope. It is just the first two periods that are tough. Once he gets through them he is fine. Yes, his prescription from his wisdom tooth extraction is long gone, but he can get them at school. Sometimes people give them to him and sometimes he buys them. He gets one every morning and another at lunch. He isn't addicted though. Well, the last time he tried not to take them for school he felt really nauseous and just awful. Yes it would probably be a good idea to see the psychiatrist again and talk about other ways to deal with stress and anxiety. We should not get freaked out though. This is not big deal -- other kids are doing all kinds of things.

Brenda and I managed to play this very low-key. We assured him that we would make him an appointment just as soon as possible, but that we were not freaked out. We agreed that his resistance of all the tempting other drugs demonstrated his strength and that it was really good that he was telling us about this -- but that it was not a big deal.

I managed to maintain a surreal level of calm while talking to the receptionist at the psychiatrist's office.

"How soon can I get him in?"

"We don't have an appointment here at the this office until the 24th."

"Can you give me the number so that I can make an appointment at the Other office?"

"I can put you on the cancellation list -- there could be one this Friday."

"Can you give me the number so that I can make an appointment at his Other office?"

"He could see the nurse practitioner here tomorrow, but she doesn't have the flexibility to work with him like the doctor would. The doctor might be able to try to wean him off the codeine, but the nurse can't prescribe anything unless he promises to stay clean. Have you considered taking him to drug rehab?"

"Can I please have the number of the Other office?"

"Well...he only takes Medicaid patients here. At the Other office he only sees patients with a private payer."

"Hang on...Brenda, the doctor only sees private patients at the other office. Will the agency pay for it?" "Sure." "Can I please have the Other number?"

I have maintained less calm while trying to order a damn pizza.

So we left a message at the Metropolis office. Evan wants to get in as soon as he can, as long as we understand that this is not big deal and don't freak out.

Actually I am THRILLED that he told us all of this. I am also pleased that Brenda and I seemed on the same page with how to handle it -- very low key.

Of course he tried to tell me more than once. A couple of months ago he told me that he was taking his left over occasionally for his back pain, but that he REALLY liked the way it made him feel. I cautioned him about codeine and told him to make an appointment with the doctor about his back pain. He said he would (and then didn't). Then last week he told me he took the codeine for stress. I talked to him each time -- but I did not do the gentle prodding that the social worker did yesterday.

I wonder if he was trying to tell me the whole thing before or if he was testing to see if I would remain calm if he decided to tell me.

Just before posting I got a call from the "Other Office." They don't have any spaces any time soon either. Okay...searching out the alternatives.

I have to call the social worker to see what she wants to do.

Anyone out there had to deal with codeine addiction?

UPDATE: Brenda talked to her supervisor. Appointments are being made with the drug testing place, the addiction assessment place, and the medical doctor. The addiction assessment place will make treatment recommendations. I had no idea these resources existed. Golly I like having a social worker to help with all these problems!

Next: Addiction Continues

1 comment:

  1. I wish I did. We'll talk about my daughter and crack sometime. I haven't had much luck with that either.

    Sounds like you're doing what you can. Codeine sounds so harmless but to an addict or potential addict no drug is "harmless".


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