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Opiate addiction Support for coping with Opiate addiction and Opiate addiction treatment.

 
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  #1  
Old 18-02-2010, 00:35
dyingtomorrow dyingtomorrow is offline
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Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

SWIM was wondering if now, after 4 years of shooting heroin, doctors will always be able to tell that he was a IV drug addict. Even after all the scars heal? Are there legitimate reasons someone wouldn't have noticable veins in their hands and arms? SWIM remembers when he had appendicitis as a teenager that they couldn't get any veins on him when trying to put an IV, and thought maybe some people just don't have "good" veins and that it wouldn't necessarily be indicative of drug abuse.

SWIM is paranoid that someday he might be close to achieving his life goal (or more accurately, precursor to life goals) of getting some kind of morphine opiate, and have the doctor take a look at him and say no at the last minute. Or worse, that he might actually get hurt some day, and not be able to get adequate pain treatment.

Is IV drug use something they can tell for ever, or will the evidence go away?
  #2  
Old 18-02-2010, 00:50
FCTLIS FCTLIS is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

SWIM would say that it certainly depends on a couple of things. The purity of your "stuff", your needle technique and length of abuse. Some people just have harder veins to hit, but some addicts can be damn near impossible. Remember that anything said between you and your doctor is confidential, and may or may not stop the doctor from administering/prescribing opiates if necessary. SWIM would be more concerned with scarring, as that is much more obvious to a medical professional than just "deep" veins. Besides, SWIY had better know to pop and find his own veins, so help the nurse/doctor without being too obvious.
  #3  
Old 18-02-2010, 01:20
kasbeq kasbeq is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

DT

Swim is pleased to tell you that after a couple of years there will be almost impossible for any doctor to tell that swiy was once an addict ( unless swiy tells him , or has some serious{Swim means really serious } scar.

Swim has used up all his veins when he decided to stop almost a decade ago, and after a few years even the most stubborn scars disappeared.
The ones that are dark blue in colour could remain ( they look like blue amateur tattoos gone wrong). But will change appearance and will not look like needle marks

But swim never had those , however his hands and legs where not a pretty sight.
After a few months the bruises are the first to go, followed by tracks after 6 months.
After a year , his skin started to feel soft again , and after two you would not be able to tell at all.

Most of the veins will be buried under your muscles but few will eventually come back , .

Swim would say that after two years there would be no visible signs of previous addiction, especially if swiy made an effort to visit a dentist for a few appointments as well.

This of course is only if swiy does not take any drugs , or uses any needles during that time ( not even occasionally)


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Personal experience relevant to topic.
  #4  
Old 18-02-2010, 01:49
mindless magpie mindless magpie is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

SWIM is pleased for SWIkasbeq that your scars are completely gone, but would like to caution that this is not always the case, at least in her experience. SWIM's ex used IV methamphetamine, and occasional heroin and cocaine, for ~9 years, but was very careful with vein care. Nevertheless he still had track scars in the crook of each arm, and even after five years completely clean and many different otc scar reduction treatments those scars are still somewhat noticeable, especially to healthcare professionals. In SWIM's opinion it really depends on the practitioner. If SWIdyingtomorrow were severely injured and needed pain meds, he will most likely get them. In a more controlled clinical setting, some practitioners are definitely more comfortable working with (ex)addicts, while some obviously find it distasteful.

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Interesting info and experience, thanks for the contribution.
  #5  
Old 18-02-2010, 02:05
dyingtomorrow dyingtomorrow is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

Thanks kasbeq and MM

SWIM actually doesn't have any visible track marks, except for 1 small faded one on the outside of his wrist which will probably disappear soon. No other scars though besides ones from "legitimate" injury.

He is more worried about the utter lack of veins. For example, SWIM hasn't had a vein in the crook of his elbow in literally 3 years, it has not come back at all. His arms and hands look like pieces of ivory, you cannot see any color or lines or anything.

SWIM was mostly wondering if this would be a sign in itself - SWIM has never seen anyone else who doesn't have visible blue in their wrists/arms/hands, and figures it might raise a red flag.
  #6  
Old 18-02-2010, 02:19
kasbeq kasbeq is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

DT

Swiy would be surprised to know how many people have buried veins .

It is a far to common condition to be able to raise flags .

As swim said earlier after a two years there was not even a single case of raised eyebrows , let alone suspicion by medical staff about drug abuse.

Swim happened to work a lot previously with needles and blood tests .
Swiy would be surprised how many people do not have visible veins and drawing blood from them is a difficult task, and they have never used drugs.


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  #7  
Old 18-02-2010, 05:47
gonegrowin gonegrowin is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

SWIM can't speak for IV use, as he did it so infrequently (He has been told by docs they could "fit a firehose up those veins," SWIM is a veiny mofo, jealous?), but after 3 years of IM injections, SWIM has a lot of scar tissue that is a dead give away if he was to receive a delt inject. The doc would have a very good chance of hitting a near rock-hard area of scarring, and SWIM is sure he would be very suspicious. So if SWIY are digging deep looking for veins, scar tissue may be an issue. Then again SWIM uses anywhere from 21g-24g tips, and those are a bit bigger than 26g that most IV users would have. Perhaps SWIY uses bigger than that, SWIM just assumes one would want to use the smallest possible to minimize marking and damage (since it is water based). Maybe someone actually gets off to banging w 18gauges, who knows.

SWIM has also heard of people who could no longer find veins, and did injects IM for opiates. So perhaps this is directly relevant, in those cases.
  #8  
Old 18-02-2010, 06:20
Neznam Neznam is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

Swim has completely ruined some of his veins, when the nurse went to draw blood swim actually pointed towards his hand and said "i think this one is the easiest" and it didn't arouse any suspicions. At least she didn't look at swim all weird and stuff as if "why is he telling me how to do my job?" She went for the spot where swim would inject.
  #9  
Old 18-02-2010, 16:42
RetroHousewife RetroHousewife is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

When SWIM was a child, from the time she was about 5 years old until she was about 13, she was almost constantly sick with pulmonary infections. She was in the hospital for at least ten days, at least twice a year, and went to doctor monthly doctor visits usually, and this is not counting her allergy doctor visits. (SWIM had very severe allergies to almost everything, and when she was away from her overprotective mother, she indulged in those things, like milk, and things with wheat, etc because lamb and green beans gets really boring after a while)

Anyway, SWIM was stuck so much as a child, with bad veins to start with, that to this day SWIM still has old, faded tracks in the crook of her elbow on both arms. It should be noted that when SWIM did shoot up, nobody ever hit her there, they hit the back of her hand or the inside of her forearm, and once on her ankle.

So yes, there are legitimate reasons for having track marks. SWIM grew out of the allergies and getting sick all the time and now only sees a doctor rarely. When they have to take SWIM's blood though, it's *always* a huge deal because they will never listen to SWIM when she tells them where to try. (This vein, with a butterfly). No, they know what they are doing, so they go in her elbow crook, then they go in her forearm, then they try the other arm, then maybe her wrist. Eventually, when SWIM tells them to just cut her wrists and hold it over a bucket, it would be easier and less painful, they comply and use the vein she told them, and all is well.
  #10  
Old 18-02-2010, 17:20
missparkles missparkles is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

It has very little to do with what they can see, and everything to do with getting the needle to go into thrombosed veins. If you're lucky enough to lose all track marks (sparkles has some that have never gone) the internal damage that you do to your veins is still there even if not seen.

When you inject into a vein you cause scar tissue to form where the vein heals, this can cause tough and ropy veins. Then when a nurse or doctor tries to get a line in (even somewhere you haven't used) the vein will still be difficult to hit (either above or below injection site) and you might see signs of past drug use.

Example.

Sparkles had blood work done a few weeks ago, and where they attempted to obtain blood the veins were so narrowed by continual use in the past, that just inserting a needle had the vein blowing up as the blood was displaced along the vein by the needle. She ended up with lumps above the sites they tried to extract blood from.

Even places that were next to used veins were problematic. So don't think that just cos they can't see them means they don't know. They take blood so often they can tell by how much pressure they have to exert to get the needle in, very similar to when a user injects and knows without even looking (yeah you have to look) that they are in a vein. That resistance you feel followed by a lack of resistance. Anyone who has injected will understand. Same thing really.

Usually they just say "this vein is really thrombosed." That's when Sparkles would say something. Now she tells them beforehand, saves loads of pain.

Sparkles.
  #11  
Old 18-02-2010, 17:37
kasbeq kasbeq is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

In light of this new evidence/ personal experiences , swim takes back everything that he said.
It is becoming clear now to swim, that its just pure luck to have all scars disappeared ,and that he has gained some veins back.

Swim was just assuming that what happened to him, happens to everyone and that is just a normal process.

It is becoming clear to him now that it does not happen to everyone ( unfortunately).

For the past few years swim had no problems giving blood and he seriously believes that no-one suspected that he was an ex-addict.

It is obvious now that this is not the case with other users
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Old 18-02-2010, 17:47
missparkles missparkles is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

Hey Kasbeq, people can only go by their own experience, if SWIY has good veins fair play to him. Bloody awesome.

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You're one lucky SOB...
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Old 18-02-2010, 18:00
pinksox pinksox is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

Quote:
Usually they just say "this vein is really thrombosed." That's when Sparkles would say something. Now she tells them beforehand, saves loads of pain.
Best philosophy in SWIM's opinion. At least where labs and emergencies are concerned. SWIM can usually tell when someone has best a past or former addict--or they have a verifiable medical history of severe, prolonged illness with lots of vascular cannulations.

If someone tells SWIM they are/have been a banger in the past and she's not seeing or feeling any veins jumping out at her, she'll listen to them more often than not...or at minimal explain why she isn't(the need to use a larger catheter than the vein can accomodate).

It should be noted however that in the cases of trauma or any potential surgical case or inpatient admission hospital staff os NOT going to want to use a "butterfly" for IV access. While alright to draw blood(barely--lots of times red cells will hemolyse because the needle diameter is too small making the sample completely useless). They're not appropriate for these patients. If theres any chance blood may need to be given at some point, they're going to want to establish an IV with at LEAST an 18g, preferably a 16 short for trauma or medical patients that may need blood products or rapid infusions. For general admissions, at least a 20-22g because small diameters are correspondingly harder to keep open and patent.

Alternatively, for lab techs and routine bloodwork--one can tell them the once had an extended hospitalization due to accident or whatever and it did a number on their veins(techs dont have access to ones medical info). However, note that they are generally loath to use butterflies on adults as more than half the time it renders the collected specimen unsuitable as it destroys the cells die to the small diameter of the needle.

Trust SWIM, most, 99%, of medical provider do NOT want to have to stick Swimmers any more than absolutely necessary. Not only do we loathe poking someone ten times or having to "fish" around for a vein...but taking that much time to complete what should be a rather quick procedure backlogs all the other things we should be doing up.

On the other hand, SWIM has seen new lab techs going for tiny veins they could visualize...rather than a big, huge, bouncy and obviously patent antecubital that could be clearly felt, but not seen. This is ridiculous. If one gets a tech that unsure of themselves and they know they're a hard stick and that tiny vein they're eyeing is going to blow if they so much as even look at it wrong--dont be afraid to (politely) stop and nicely re-direct them to a palpable vein. People with newly acquired IV skills are generally loathe to use veins they can't see.



Quote:
SWIM actually doesn't have any visible track marks, except for 1 small faded one on the outside of his wrist which will probably disappear soon. No other scars though besides ones from "legitimate" injury.
Hell, that can be explained by a gung-ho medic sticking SWIY with a 16 or 14g. SWIM still has a cannulation scar from a 16g into her left interns vein that was placed for a few hours for rehydration during a search and rescue operation in 2001.

Last edited by pinksox; 18-02-2010 at 18:13.
  #14  
Old 19-02-2010, 03:19
gonegrowin gonegrowin is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

I've never given blood, i don't think they would let me, but they use an 18g?! That is like sticking a fork spline in your arm. And 14g and 16g?! Why does it need to be that big? I understand the hemolysis part and if its for emergency transfusion, but why would you need something that big for a water based medicine? Im not afraid of needles by any means, but i would be pretty freaked out by those gauges. 14g, man, thats like sticking the ink insert in a pen into yourself. Or maybe bigger... yikes. That has to cause some significant scarring, no?
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Old 19-02-2010, 03:53
pinksox pinksox is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

Quote:
I've never given blood, i don't think they would let me, but they use an 18g?!
Well, SWIM was actually talking about receiving blood...or any patient having the potential to be a surgical patient(and thus the potential of needing blood). But to answer your question, yes--where the giving, or taking(as in donating), of blood is concerned an 18g is generally the smallest acceptable gauge. They'll usually try for a 16g, or larger if they can manage, as they're after whole cells. Anything smaller, even 20's, tend to be too small and lyse the cells--thus destroying them.

Also, in emergency situations, the shorter and larger the catheter, the more fluid volume one can get into a patient faster. A 16g short in the antecubital will deliver more fluid volume over a minute than a 14g long in the femoral.

Either way, blood or no, most IV's are done using 18-to-22g catheters with 18 or 20 being vastly preferred. In fact, even ion newborns and premies a 22 or 24g is standard. Anything smaller just doesn't stay patent(open) well.

Now if one is talking about drawing blood for tests where whole blood cells aren't of importance, needle size doesn't matter so much.
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Old 19-02-2010, 06:21
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AW: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

The Scars not going away, swim done his last IV. now already 7 Years ago
and they are still visible!
Also the mainline-in in the Waist will be there for ever!

In swims experience the Veins are not coming back, if they are destroyed
"they die" and will be decomposed!

New ones are coming, but the Word "New ones" is wrong, the Blood will find
another Way through smaller ones.
The smaller ones are always different from the mainlines!

By Swims experience a Doc will it see for ever,
this is a big Problem, Addiction do not end with a Detox!

ps. Swim can`t go to the Doc`s here (Nippon), too much fear of pre-justice,
maybe as well as because of the Police!
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Old 19-02-2010, 06:40
cra$h cra$h is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

as far as that morphine dream, they give you enough to take off the edge, not enough to get high. Sorry man. Swim thought he'd get all fucked up when he was in the hospital, but they barely dose ya. Then again without a tolerance, it might b a little easier
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Old 23-02-2010, 10:36
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

Its a shame that most doctors judge people with drug habits quite harshly, but it is probably worth qualifying this by saying that doctors treat honest addicts who are open about their problem (or former problem) much better.
Experienced doctors will usually be able to tell your history of heroin injection, and if you lie to them about anything the barriers will go up big style. If you are lying in an ER clutching your belly with genuine appendicitis etc and genuinely need opiates for pain relief, fess up honestly while they are struggling to find IV access, help them find a working vein and you will probably not be denied opiates. DO NOT ask for them directly, and especially DO NOT specify the dose you need!

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good call for honesty!
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Old 23-02-2010, 10:55
missparkles missparkles is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

It can work for you to fess up, especially when you have a visible illness. But if you don't and just suffer from pain with no immediate diagnosis, most doctors do still view you with suspicion...unfortunately.

Sparkles.
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Old 23-02-2010, 11:03
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AW: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

What swisignifier wrote is a "Spot-On",
many Doc`s are really angry with the majority of Drug-addicted People,
addicted People have to learn to lie, but lie to someone who is there to help is stupid!
  #21  
Old 23-02-2010, 11:09
missparkles missparkles is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

I think most doctors will experience maybe 98 out of 100 addicts who will lie, most do so cos they fear losing a script, meds already prescribed, so they say they haven't used any other drugs. When the doctor finds out they're not being honest, they then assume the 2 left outta that initial 100 will also be lying.

So all the honest addicts (and ex addicts) will be paying for the deception of the other 98. Until doctors stop seeing addiction as a weakness, and stop judging all people who have had problems with addiction, this will never change.

Doctors have so much power, most people know this, and the need to please the authority figure that can give or take a drug away, will be the overriding concern. But it shouldn't be this way.

Sparkles.
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Old 24-02-2010, 08:09
keepitnatural keepitnatural is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

I hate to tell you that usually depending on duration of use and safety precautions ( such as using a new needle everytime) that for the most part the scars will be there for the rest of your life. After 4 yrs mine have not faded the slightest bit yet.....
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Old 24-02-2010, 21:25
dyingtomorrow dyingtomorrow is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keepitnatural View Post
I hate to tell you that usually depending on duration of use and safety precautions ( such as using a new needle everytime) that for the most part the scars will be there for the rest of your life. After 4 yrs mine have not faded the slightest bit yet.....
Like I said, the scars are not a problem. SWIM IVed for 4 years and doesn't have anything that looks like track marks, probably because he mostly shot his hands with tiny gauge needles.

SWIM is still lost with the conflicting info, i.e. whether a lack of noticeable veins automatically = IV user. SWIM has met very few doctors who actually give a fuck even if you are a nice socially-homogenized simp of a person, and telling them about a past addiction seems like the last thing you would want to do if you could help it.
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Old 25-02-2010, 13:48
missparkles missparkles is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

DT, it's the unseen damage that they notice. That can make them suspicious if you need pain relief. They will scan your body for tracks. If you have them they will question the need for meds. Now this may not be a problem now, but in the future...who knows?

And it also depends on location and wealth. Cos in the UK you're treated at an NHS hospital (no money involved at source) so they will be curious. However, if you're in say...the US, then if you have the cash, it will be easier to over come. Also age plays a huge part. If you're middle aged, even an admission of past drug abuse is generally not seen as dire, but visit a doctor with bad veins in your 20s-30s, and it will raise red flags.

Attitude also makes a big difference as doctors do judge by appearance. Have a fairly educated speaking voice, sound assertive, and look well dressed and again, it seems to make less difference. I know none of this should matter, unfortunately we don't reside in some utopia. Doctors are some of the most judgmental people I've ever met.

Sparkles.

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Old 20-07-2010, 18:28
this_is_she this_is_she is offline
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Re: Will doctors always be able to tell you were an IV addict?

SWIZ is actually honest with her primary care Dr. about her IV drug use. Not with emergency doctor though. The only veins left are in SWIZ's hands, for which yes, a butterfly has to be used.

Most of the older scars have faded, but it has taken more than 10 years.

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