I've mentioned before that I'm currently taking Methadone as part of my treatment for opiate addiction. Never have I experienced such blatant mistreatment simply because I am a methadone patient. But my Pharmacy has set the standard for treating addicts like shit.
I broke my foot at the end of November, so getting myself to my regular Methadone pharmacy instantly became very difficult. I couldn't even get to the bus stop, so unless I had a ride or a cab, I would be SOL. That being one of my worst nightmares, I decided that while I am in this cast I would switch my prescription to the Pharmacy about 2 blocks away, that I'd only recently learned served Methadone. Great, right? I mean that's still a long way to go with a broken foot, but on days that I absolutely can't get a ride or afford a cab, I technically could walk myself there if I really had to. That was a relief. Or so I thought.
Before this, I had been going to my Pharmacy for well over a year, and they whew wonderful. In an area with a high number of methadone patients, this pharmacy has a whole separate store connected to it that serves strictly methadone. They serve it all day, and you can truly tell they care about what they do and their patients health and progress. Every day was a warm greeting, caring voice, and someone there to answer any questions I might have. I didn't realize how rate it was to find such good treatment.
This particular day I was unable to get a ride so my Mom left me cab money. About 15 minutes after the pharmacy opens I called myself a cab. Arrived at the Pharmacy and proceeded to hobble to the back of the store where the pharmacist dispenses Methadone. The first day I came to this pharmacy they had me sign a Methadone treatment agreement, and at the time I had forgotten to ask them for a copy for myself. There was a different woman behind the counter, and as I walked up and began to open my mouth, she holds up her hand and ssshhes me. A minute out so later, she asks for my last name and dose, pours my drink and then has me sign for it. Not wanting to forget that photocopy, I said "excuse me, could I please get a copy of the Methadone agreement I signed on Monday when I transferred here?". Her response was a quick and easy "No". Hold up. No? I responded by saying "Pardon? It's a legal agreement I signed with you and I would like a copy for my records please". Again she responses with a short and rude "NO", and goes back to what she's doing. I asked hey if she was serious, and her response was "You cannot have a copy. Come back tomorrow and ask the manager then". I can feel her getting under my skin, but not wanting to freak out, I just politely asked to speak to the pharmacist who was at the opposite end if the counter instead. She actually said "No, you can't", picked up the phone, and went about her business. Okay fuck that. I have not done anything to this woman top elicit this kind of bullshit, so I grabbed my crutches and hobble across the store to speak to the pharmacist. I said the exact same thing to the pharmacist as I did to the pharmacy technician. "Excuse me, could I please get a copy of the Methadone agreement I signed on Monday when I transferred here?". This time I got a very different response. "Of course!" she says, followed by "just head over to the lady at the other end of the counter there and ask her to get you one, I am just busy at the moment". I informed her I had asked that woman several times, and each time she refused. The pharmacist shook her head and said "ask her again, she will help". I begrudgingly hobbled back to the other end of the counter. I said "excuse me, could you please get me a copy of the Methadone agreement I asked for? The pharmacist said you would". Boy she didn't like that. Gave me a nasty scowl and responded "NO. I'm too busy. Come back some other time", and proceeded to pick up the phone. Now she's just being a twat. Frustrated and sore I said "Are you kidding me? Can you not see the crutches and broken foot I have? Can you help me out a little bit? Come on!". She doesn't even acknowledge I said, even though she clearly heard me.
She makes a funny face, and says "geez, ask her again, tell her I said it's fine". Even more frustrated, I said "really? I'm on crutches, it hurts to keep going back and forth. At this pint I don't even care of if it's the one I signed, I just want a copy of what the damn agreement says!". The Pharmacist says okay, and walks over to the Pharmacy Tech telling her to give me the copy and walks away. Pharmacy Tech gives me the death glare and says "Well then you're just going to have to wait". Turns to the computer and ignored me again.
Ten minutes later, the Pharmacy Tech hands the Pharmacist the piece of paper I requested (from a stack of papers right beside her the whole time), except she so kindly scribbled the words 'COPY' all over the god damn page. It's not like I wanted to, you know, read it or anything.
This isn't anything new. Addicts aren't actual people, so there is no reason to treat them with kindness and respect, amirite?! This Pharmacy couldn't have driven that point home any harder. There can be a lineup to the back wall of methadone patients waiting to be served, but if any regular customer walks up to the counter, we become non existent. This morning a line of 6 methadone patients (Mr. L and myself being two of them) waited 15 minutes at the counter before the Pharmacy Tech would even acknowledge our presence. The sad thing is, instead of pushing back and refusing to accept being brushed off and treated like shit, most Methadone patients there just take it, ignore it and move on.
For those of you reading this and thinking, there is a simple solution to this problem: go elsewhere. FUCK YOU. I should be able to my prescription to any methadone serving pharmacy and be treated with respect. If you have a problem serving methadone as an aspect of your job, then fucking quit. Don't treat us as though you are above us, or better than us.
Funny thing. That Methadone agreement I signed? It has a nice little section entitled 'Pharmacy Environment' which states "I understand that [Name of Pharmacy] is committed to maintaining an environment that safe for clients, visitors, and staff and to maintaining positive, respectful behavior between people, which does not include threats, violence or destructive behavior. I agree to uphold these standards".
Whoops. Dropped the ball there, didn't they?