Sunday, March 4, 2018

Naturally, my pharmacist couldn't help, but he did tell me that everything is the DEA's fault

Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and that's not even accounting for epic burnouts like us skewing the numbers. Mommy needs her medicine to control her blood pressure, Daddy needs his medicine for his cholesterol, and your weird uncle who writes for the Internet needs his "whatever you got on you" to ease chronic pain the doctors no longer treat in our day - go fuck yourself if your leg has 30 titanium pins in it. The point is, everybody needs something. So what happens if you need your meds when we're undergoing one of our nation's many drug shortages? We're not just being hyperbolic because our stash ran dry; drug shortages are a real and terrifying thing. They are also engineered by the govt. Specifically, the DEA. Let's talk to somebody on the wrong end of one ...

Any Drug Can Be Vitally Important

As an adult with ADHD, I depend on Adderall, one of the most famous and controversial prescription drugs in America. It's proven invaluable in treating the disorder in children and adults, and also, unfortunately, in making sure frat boys can stay up all night playing Call Of Duty. And apparently the DEA is sick of getting whomped by BroDown69 every time they boot up the old Xbox. Hence, the drug shortage. And it's not just about paying closer attention to your homework: My ADHD is entwined with both depression and anxiety. Before Adderall, I was way into self-harm and suicide. Post-Adderall, I've found some better hobbies. It's a pretty big deal to me.
Seppi333/Wikimedia Let's hear it for new hobbies, such as "not dying!"

When I finally talked to my doctor about ADHD and scored that first sweet prescription to Adderall, everything in my life changed within weeks. My impulse control was back. I was able to get my work done, which kept suicide and self-harm at bay. I was able to complete my projects -- it was so great that I was furious it took this long to find my wonder drug. And I'm not alone: Not only is Adderall more frequently used to treat depression than you think, it turns out that undiagnosed ADHD is responsible for a lot of depression and suicidal tendencies in young women, because people keep telling us that it's all in our heads. Yes, we know it's in our heads; that is indeed the problem. That's why we're asking you to fix our heads.
Eraxion/iStock/Getty Images "Just because it's in your head doesn't mean it's not real." --Albus Dumbledore, M.D.
There's No Warning Before Your Drugs Just Up And Vanish. It's all about chaos crazy and turning decent law abiding people into pain racked crazies. We know who is behind this.

Fuse/Thinkstock/Getty Images

The DEA created different classes and labels for prescription drugs based on their likelihood of being abused. Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin are schedule II prescriptions as are many painkillers. That's why their distribution is highly regulated. Shortages have been on and off since 2011, but it wasn't until January 2015 that I began to notice significant problems. Because, that's when the council of 13 deemed it was time to increase the suffering of ALL in the world, during the witches sabbath of Yule.
Radist/iStock/Getty Images Taken 3 was at the top of the box office. It was a dark time in America.
I used to fill my prescriptions at Walgreens, but since changing my health insurance, I've had to switch to CVS. When I first went to fill my 20-milligram Adderall XR (two pills a day) at my closest CVS, I was told they were out of it. So I went to another one and they were out of it, too. I called the next one to save some time, but it turns out that because they're schedule II, they can't tell you if they have the drugs in stock over the phone. You have to show up physically to be rejected. Just like prom night.
Gewitterkind/iStock/Getty Images "But you can order pizza online. That helps depression!"
Some places told me that they were getting their weekly shipment on Wednesday, but then Wednesday came and, oops, maybe it'll show up in the monthly shipment. I was told I needed to get there quickly when that shipment got in, since they were only allotted one bottle of 100 pills per month, meaning they could, at most, fill three prescriptions per month (fewer, if patients took more than one pill per day). When the next month rolled around, I arrived within an hour of their monthly shipment, and still no Adderall. I went to a Walmart to see if they could fill it, and the pharmacist admitted it's been on back order since the end of December. If this sounds frustrating now, keep in mind I did all of this without the pills I need to stay sane.
The System Is Massively Complicated, And Mostly Just Serves To Shift Blame. It's the DEA. They are the little do as they are told bitches behind all medication restriction to patients and doctors HAVE TO OBEY OR ELSE.

Fascist freedom stealing assholes. While ensuring the CIA's heroin and cocaine get into the country safely without any competition. The truth is out there, look it up.
Eric Kayne/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Our health care system functions like a high school group project: When something doesn't get done, it's always someone else's fault. I had a great relationship with my pharmacist at Walgreens and called him in tears one night to tell him what was going on with CVS and to beg him to take me back. (Walgreens and I had a beautiful relationship, before they dumped me out of the blue when their friends at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida started saying shit behind my back. I thought you were better than that, Walgreens! Not like that slut, Rite Aid, who hires only lesbian women or women of color who treat white customers like typhoid carriers. I've had Rite Aid bitches refuse legal doctor prescription fills from dentists for low grade pain medication that doesn't do shit anyway. Happily, since Rite Aid started treating me and others like shit, their stock has been tanking to the point of near bankruptcy. In fact, they are now involved in a hostile takeover.)
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Rite Aid has, like, SO much experience with STDs.

Naturally, my pharmacist couldn't help, but he did tell me that everything is the DEA's fault. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. All these problems with supply and restrictions for chronic pain sufferers with real needs are the direct result of dictates by the DEA at whim, without congressional over site of any kind, ever. See, pharmacists and manufacturers are supposed to tell the DEA how many patients need the medication, and the DEA is supposed to increase the allowance to keep up with patient need -- except they routinely ignore every request as a routine. Maybe they have ADHD too? Maybe they are just vicious jerks who feed on the suffering of others, as so many badge wearers are? So to follow up, I called the Orlando branch of the DEA and spoke to two different representatives: One blamed the manufacturers for refusing to make the drug, and the other blamed the druggies for forcing them to set these limits. It took me a full five minutes before I could stop laughing. Now, it appears they have me under surveillance for making these calls. Ask a question, get setup. I was warned that this might happen. It's not paranoia...this is what you get when you ask questions to fascists in a constitutional republic.
Eric Kayne/Getty Images News/Getty Images Is it Steve? It's Steve, isn't it? Fucking Steve.

If the manufacturers don't make the medications, they lose money. Pharmacists can't make money if they don't sell the drugs. Patients, of course, lose their treatments, and in 2011, at least 1,015 people died because they couldn't get their medications. The DEA, by limiting prescriptions, gets to appear to be tough on drugs, since fewer prescriptions available equals fewer prescription in the hands of patients. Those 1,015 dead folks are just collateral damage in the war on drugs. The DEA's motto is , FUCK EM. The DEA is also a band of serial killers of regular people who-while under doctor treatment-are denied their medicine of all kinds, not just opiates. The number of deaths doubles every single year. They will probably pass a law forbidding the reporting of these stats to protect their precious image.

You're Treated Like A Drug Addict If You Complain

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When I called the DEA to ask about the shortage, the first person I spoke to said, "Yeah, we're restricting access to these medications. What can you do? Blame the druggies not us." When I told him that wasn't good enough and explained my symptoms (which included a relapse in suicidal thoughts, depression, and poor impulse control), he said it sounded like I was addicted to Adderall and in withdrawal.

Patient: "If I stop taking this heart attack medication, I'll have a heart attack."
Flailing Dipshit Agent: "Sounds like you're addicted to heart attack medication. what's your name and address?" 

Hang up the phone, the bastards just put you on a federal watch list for taking heart medicine. Which means you are on the same list as a drug cartel kingpin who ships thousands of tons of cocaine yearly. Welcome to the fuck you club, courtesy of Fascist America.
diego_cervo/iStock/Getty Images I don't think that's what Narcotics Anonymous means when they talk about "physical dependency."
But even if that logic wasn't pants-on-head stupid, as Cracked has pointed out before, most drug addictions are an attempt to self-medicate anyway. And then there's the difference in how we treat individual drugs: Lamictal has pretty severe withdrawal effects, including symptoms of bipolar disorder, vomiting, and emotional upset. Adderall's withdrawal is mostly just "fatigue and trouble sleeping," and yet it's much more heavily regulated, because it's a stimulant.
Stuart Wilson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images "You're next, Starbucks power shots!"
And so we get to the great irony: I could drive down to the nearest college campus right now and buy some illegal Adderall from the first twitchy kid I came across. Sure, I'd pay more for a single pill than I would for an entire bottle on my insurance, but at least I'd be getting my goddamn meds. In trying to crack down on the prescription drug problem, the DEA is actually creating a prescription drug problem.

There Are Severe And Immediate Consequences For Going Off Adderall

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I wrote an article for Cracked in 2014 about self-injury. After it came out, people began messaging me on Tumblr to tell me how much it had helped them get help and/or stay safe. So I started using my Tumblr to post the other things I told myself to keep sane, and it seemed to help others, too.
Then the Adderall shortage hit.
mactrunk/iStock/Getty Image And my mental health took a tumbl.
In that first article, I also mentioned my previous suicide attempt. One of the factors leading to that was a shortage of Adderall -- it was the longest I'd been off of it since starting the medication ... until now. I've avoided trying to kill myself again, but I can't say I haven't thought about it. I just can't keep the ideas out of my head.
This is why medication shortages are a big deal: I know what my life is like with and without the medication, and I know that my returning suicidal impulses and difficulty focusing aren't because of my own failure as a person. I remind myself that these suicidal thoughts aren't from me. The right psychiatric medications don't turn you into a different person -- they correct your brain chemistry to bring the real you back from behind a cloud of crazy. And no matter how much therapy or self-conditioning you have.
Top Photo Group/Top Photo Group/Getty Images It would explain why I feel so blue.
The last thing the mentally ill need is yet another roadblock between themselves and treatment. You can call it a crutch if you want, but take away someone's crutches and see how much longer their legs stay broken.

Lauren Ipsum