I was on methadone back in 1977. 80 mg was the maximum dose anyone was allowed. I never stopped using heroin the entire time I was on methadone. It was used for “harm reduction”. It was not used to help addicts get clean. It was used to keep addicts from robbing and stealing. It was created by the government. Never was it meant to be a tool addicts could use to become drug free. Since methadone is an opiate blocker, I had to use more heroin than usual in order to feel it. It was our theory that methadone could be used as a stepping stone to become drug free. Hence the 9-12-18 program was written and patented by ASI. The 9-12-18 program consisted of the addict attending two groups per week and one individual session per week. They also had to agree to “blind dosing”and attending Family program. That program was very successful and we had quite a few patients achieve being drug free due to ASI’s 9-12-18. The patients did their best to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings while on methadone, however they were not welcome. ASI had 600 patients. 280 of which were in the 9-12-18 program. If a patient on methadone continued to use they were referred to ASI’s Partial program which was held 5 days per week from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. If they continued using while in Partial they were referred to Mary E Steratore Treatment Center which was ASI’s inpatient residential program. ASI was a full service treatment program; it was NOT a dose ‘n go methadone clinic……. Like all the others. ASI cared about the patient. ASI cared if the patient got clean and recovered from this deadly disease. ASI was Fayette County’s best kept SECRET. ASI was helping addicts everyday. Many of whom have gotten clean and became productive, responsible members of society.
This blog is not a place for me to sound like a victim. This blog is intended to let people know about the disease of addiction as well as to let people know about what ASI was really about.
ASI opened in 1999. It existed for 19 years before Suboxone entered the picture. Suboxone offered a 9-12-18 program as well. It was not as well established as the methadone program. Suboxone & methadone CAN be used as tools to becoming drug free; however the staff of a facility must know what they are doing.
If you have a loved one on Methadone or Suboxone; try to talk them into using it as a tool to becoming drug free. If you need any help with that feel free to contact me via email at Rozsug@aol.com and please put “blog” in the subject line or try contacting me at 412-292-8899.
WE DO RECOVER.
Sean has been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. Stage 1. They are doing surgery today and taking out half of his lung. He has known for two months and did not tell me until a week ago. I believe he had our best interest at hand, however, I want to choke him. I am unsure how he is able to hold things in like that. All of my kids are home. God will be there too. I’ve been praying and asking Him to show up. He always shows up. I haven’t written for two days. I’m surprised how much I missed writing. It helps so much. I got two comments on here that were not very spiritual in nature. I guess they felt better taking shots at me and telling me that I knew ASI was closing down in December. This is very untrue. I had no idea the State would put 600 addicts on the street. In fact, that is who is to blame for this fiasco. They came rushing in after the FBI came in……..and after licensing us for the past 20 years, they suddenly decide that we should not have a license because the Feds came in to raid us. This is ridiculous. And all higher ups that could have intervened could not do so because they, too, were involved. Money. The almighty dollar. Money became an issue for everyone.
ASI opened in July 1999. Sean and I were totally against methadone at the time. We figured we could open a clinic and then help addicts come off of methadone. That was our intent. We tried to open just a methadone “detox” program. The State let us know we were not allowed to do that. They told us that we were only permitted to do “maintenance”. So we opened ASI with the intention to teach addicts on methadone about the disease concept of addiction. And that is what we did. We were a “cash only” clinic when we opened. We took in 100 patients immediately. The Director of Fayette County Drug & Alcohol made a statement in the newspaper that the clinic was not really needed in Fayette County and that there were ONLY TWO HEROIN ADDICTS in the entire county. TWO? Well it turns out maybe TWO THOUSAND. We proceeded to service the patients and suddenly we started to get visits from the VBH rep. (VBH is the insurance company for all welfare recipients in Fayette County). This rep. named Marla brought us donuts daily and begged us to sign up with them so the welfare patients could be covered and not have to pay for treatment. We did not want to do it because we were aware of the red tape involved with dealing with Insurance Companies. Especially this type of coverage all the way around. So after being tortured daily by Marla for several months we decided to do it. The worst decision we ever made.
For some reason I find a need to take you all from the inception of ASI up through the demise of ASI. Maybe it is because “I” need to be the one that writes about it and hears about it and needs CLOSURE around it and on and on and on. Or maybe because I cannot believe where my life is right now and how things change from literally one minute to the next.
I’ll continue writing later……………as for right now it is 6:42am and Sean goes in to surgery at 9:30am today. I also have a wake to attend this evening so I’m getting ready to go pray so I can get through this day with God running it, not me.
Mario: So Roz, what is your first memory of childhood?
Roz: I remember my father’s death. I was 10 years old. He died of a massive heart
attack. In fact I don’t remember anything prior to being 10 yrs. old. and I don’t
remember anything until the age of 16 when I smoked my first joint.
My father’s death changed our lives. It changed our family. It changed my mother. Actually, she died too. She died mentally & spiritually. I had a brother who was 21 years old and another brother who was 30 years old. They adored my father. I was Daddy’s little
girl. My middle brother had peptic ulcers. “A nervous stomach” as my mom called it. He almost died. He was so handsome and he could sing really well. My oldest brother became my father. He raised me. He was married with 3 children and lived an hour away. He was strict. He was my God. He was my hero. He took on the role of my father.
I was angry at my mother. She abandoned me. She cried for days and nights on end. She sat on the end of the couch and cried with her black stockings rolled around her ankles. We went from a family of five to me and my mother. I hated being at home.
I suffered from the disease of Italianism as well as the disease of addiction. I had a pit in
my stomach. A hole in my stomach. I didn’t know what it was. I could not fill it.
When I picked up marijuana for the first time the hole was gone. I felt so much better. I could go on and on and on …………..I was a Hippie. I grew up in the ’70’s. My mother blamed my addiction on the way I looked at the BEATLES the night they were on the Ed Sullivan show. I used every drug there was between the ages of 16-29.
I started using heroin at the age of 20. All of my problems were gone…………..so I thought. Why do we use? Why can’t we stop?
I’ll have to write more later. Remembering what life was like before I entered the world of recovery is painful. Was I born an addict? Did I use because I was extremely depressed and I self medicated? The only way I could function was to get high first.
What was your first childhood memory?
WELCOME ! This blog is dedicated to ASI (Addiction Specialists, Inc.)…..and to the many, many patients who have gone through treatment there and who miss the therapeutic value that the family atmosphere gave them. April 30,2016 ASI was shut down by the PA Dept. of Health ………….. it was totally unfair and unjustifiable. October 8, 2015 the FBI unexpectedly raided the facility. It was a nightmare. The loss was almost unbearable. ASI was not a methadone clinic. ASI was not a drug & alcohol rehab. ASI was not a suboxone program.
ASI was Family.
Be prepared to hear the ups and downs, struggles and successes of a life you could never imagine. Addiction is an ugly illness and it causes major pain and suffering for families as well as addicts. If you live with an addict, give them a new name. They are two people. Two very very different people. Know who you are talking to at all times. If their birth name is Laura, you can name her Lisa. If their birth name is Robert you can name him Randy. One of them is the active addict and the other is the recovering addict. Let me take you on a walk down memory lane.