GARY'S STORY: WHY OST INJECTIONS WORK FOR ME
I’ve always been in conflict with myself about my drug use. I like drugs but I hate what comes with it. I hate when I have no food, no cigarettes because I’ve had a shitty $50 taste. I hate knowing what the result is going to be, but doing it anyway. I really don’t like being controlled by my drug use.
I’m 50 now and I’ve been on and off Opiate Substitution Treatment (OST) 8 times and 2 of those times have been on bupe. This is my 9th attempt. I’ve always used OST to stop using, then got off it when I felt ready. So far I’ve ended up using again and had to get back on. But I’ll never give up trying.
I put my hand up for the monthly buprenorphine injecting trial because I was over going to the clinic every day. Because my goal is to not use and get off OST so it wasn’t a healthy place for me to be every day. There are a lot of people at the clinic who for one reason or another don’t want to stop using or are having trouble stopping. They may be just starting out on OST or who have just come out of jail or simply have been on a long time and are comfortable combining their OST and using. So there can be a lot of wheeling and dealing going on - people asking you to score for them or trying to sell pills or whatever. It’s in your face.
Apart from the drug use, there’s always drama, people pushing in, arguing and so on. All in all, I found it a real drain going there every day. I am so glad I am out of that. There is nothing I miss about the clinic.
Having said that, I did feel a bit lost when I first got on the injections. I would wake up and have nowhere to go. I would be looking for a drink or a pill to fill the gap. Going to the clinic gave me direction in the morning and I have had to find ways to deal with that - other things to do.
Change came to me through caring for my nephew. I started looking after him, dropping him off and picking him up from school for my sister and being involved in my family a lot more. It gave me something to do and was really positive. It’s really been wonderful finding new things to get me up in the morning, to get me motivated about my life.
I’ve also made some decisions about my future and I’m starting a course in March.
The great thing about being away from the clinic environment is that you are not faced with drugs on a daily basis, you are not faced with being a daily drug user. You are just a person. I don’t think about drugs at all now.
As far as being on the bupe injections goes, I don’t feel anything different. It’s exactly the same as being on it every day. It’s not like there is anything in your arm that you can feel, it’s not an implant. When you get the injection it pinches for a couple of seconds, but there is no pain. It’s all very easy.
I’ve been on the injection trial for nearly a year now. I have two injections left and then I am off the bupe. I really think this will be “it” because I have dealt with the daily thing, I have moved away from being around people who use and I have found new routines, new things to do with my time.
I would absolutely recommend the monthly injections, especially if you want to not use and/or you’ve got a job or things to do in your day and don’t want to be tied to having to pick up a dose every day or even every few days. I don’t regret it for a moment.