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Methadone Maintenance & forced off of legally prescribed Kolonopins

I've been with a Methadone Maintenance program for a total of 4 and a half years.  A little over 4 months ago I started experiencing anxiety issues I've dealt with since about 12 or so.  I tested positive after taking 2  0.25mg of xanax and admitted to using it due to a panic attack.  I was told I needed to see a psychiatrist and get a prescription, which I did.  No issues for about 1.5 months, then my "counselor" told me because I tested positive for both xanax and Kolonopin (which was a test taken 2 days after receiving my legal prescription and less than a week after I had taken the xanax.)  At that point I was told I was not allowed to take my Kolonopin anymore.  I was tested every day for 3 weeks.  It stayed in my system so they began bringing me down, daily, on my Methadone.  I started experiencing pre seizure symptoms and approached this counselor, she told me she never told me to stop cold turkey which was a complete lie.  
Today, I am on 6 mg, 3mgs tomorrow then zero.  

My question, are doctors able to force patients to stop taking benzodiazipines cold turkey?   I've also experienced 2 HIPAA violations at this facility, unfair treatment and filed a grievence  (which is most likely pointless.)  Isn't it unethical, at least, to force a patient to stop benzodiazipines cold turkey while daily decreasing Methadone.  This is the equivalent to cruel and unusual punishment to me.
5 Responses
Avatar universal
You probably signed away any rights you might have when you entered the program.  Many rehab facilities use cold turkey stoppages, despite all evidence being to the contrary.  That's where a lot of the evidence of the dangers of stopping benzos cold turkey came from -- a psychiatrist in England who had worked at a rehab facility.  Perhaps you could get your psychiatrist involved, or copy the information about the dangers of quitting benzos cold turkey.  Of course, it's probably just as stupid to cold turkey quit methadone, but that's what these facilities do.  Good luck.
1 Comments
I'm the type of person that reads everything.  I know this clinic very well and benzos are allowed as long as they are legally prescribed.  The doctor told me it would be no problem as long as I had a prescription however the counselor was the issue.  She went back to the first drug test after I received my legal prescription and used that to get me kicked out.  

This counselor and another counselor also violated my HIPAA and patient rights,which I filed a grievance about however I have a feeling that won't do much so I may have to file a formal complaint.  

I was forced to go to these Thursday meetings at night and the sign up sheet would have 10-20 people on there.  All but 2 (for the 8 meetings I attended) had this particular counselor.  Statistically that's just impossible.  I didn't have issues when I started seeing her it was after the fact.  

What I'm wondering though, I don't believe it's against the law, though I'm currently researching that, (maybe medical malpractice?  Pre-seizure symptoms are no laughing matter and if I had had a seizure and died, someone would've been held accountable.)  But ethically, in anyone's opinion, is this right?  

Is there anything I can do about this?  I refuse to return to this clinic, it's a literal scam in the most obvious ways.  But I refuse to let this go.  I'm not one to ever say no or stick up for myself, this is important to me and even if I don't win at least I know that I "fought the good fight".  

I'm currently researching information that I plan to bring up to the clinic describing the dangers of quitting benzo's cold turkey, HIPAA laws, etc.  But I need legitimate resources, if anyone has any links they can share I would be eternally grateful!

I hope someone out there understands what I mean and how I feel.  

Thank you for commenting, I really appreciate your input!
Avatar universal
Just google benzo discontinuation -- the stories are endless.  I can't remember the psychiatrist in England who has written several research papers on a condition called Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome, which I have from Paxil, and she estimated benzos have this outcome 10-15% of the time.  As for the seizure problem, that's such widespread knowledge it's a given.  I would think if you research any benzo manufacturer's website, you will see the FDA required black box warning not to quit abruptly, and will probably find seizures listed as one of the reasons for that.  Because the FDA has acted on this with not only benzos but also with antidepressants and required these warnings, and because so many lawsuits have been filed and won, it would be hard not to find this information with a basic google search.
Avatar universal
Professor Heather Ashton is the doc.  Google the Ashton Manual.  You can read the whole thing online.
Avatar universal
I had the same exact symptoms coming off of Effexor and other anti-depressants.

Does anyone know if there is anything I can do, other than repot them for the HIPAA violation?

How is this not against the law?!
Avatar universal
Doctors and therapists have no law -- or little law.  They are self regulated by their own trade associations.  The only thing usually an individual can do if there's significant financial consequences is sue for malpractice, but if there's not a lot of money involved no lawyer will take the case.  They're very hard to win, because doctors always lie and their colleagues do as well -- that's why it became easier to win these cases, judges got tired of docs never testifying against one another.  You can file a grievance, I would think, with the local disciplinary board, but as medicine is so uncertain despite what docs tell you, again, it has to be egregious to get any action.  You can try anything you want -- sue, threaten to sue, file with the local grievance authority (which, again, is made up of a committee of the relevant trade association, such as the AMA), or you can leave the past behind and move on.    
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