Thursday, February 02, 2012

What It Must Feel Like to Be a Pinball

Have you ever been in a situation where you're stuck in a bind between two different people or companies, each blaming the other for holding back or preventing something that will help you with a problem, and neither of them offering any kind of solution or even trying to show the least amount of empathy?  Just think what it would be like to have that He Said/She Said taking place between two massively large and powerful entities.  That's what's going on right now for people who need to take Adderall to treat their ADHD symptoms.

There is currently a nationwide shortage of Adderall, and the pharmaceutical companies are accusing the federal government of limiting their ability to make more.  The government counters that the industry is holding back in order to raise prices.  The end result is that those people who depend on this drug are forced to either go searching around to several pharmacies in search of it, and do without until it's found, or switch medications to something that may not be as effective and carries different side effects.

I'm one of those people, and speaking on behalf of all of us (Because I'm sure they would have all elected me for this if they'd have been able to focus a little better), I'm here to say I DON'T CARE WHO'S GODDAMN FAULT THIS IS, JUST FIX IT!

Oh.  My.  Giddy.  Aunt.  Is there anything more frustrating than dealing with organizations who, were they fulfilling their purpose, should be helping you, but are instead taking the hands-off approach and pointing at the other one, saying "It's his fault"?  I'm sure there is somewhere, but I sure as hell wouldn't be able to recognize it because I just saw something shiny over there.

I'd been on a couple other meds before, and things were starting to get a lot better for me then.  But once Adderall was introduced to the mix, it was like night and day.  Unfortunately, because it's so effective at helping one's mind focus and sweep away the cobwebs, an even bigger contrast is going from having it to not having it.  When you haven't taken it, things you didn't even realize were a problem start to improve measurably.  But once that supply is gone those things seem even worse.  I think I've been relatively lucky in that the last couple of times I've had difficulty getting a scrip filled, it's only lasted a day or two until I could find it elsewhere.  Not so right now.  I've been out for nearly two weeks now.  Unfortunately, so has my pharmacy, and every other pharmacy in the region.  And there have been repercussions.

In the last several days, I've experienced intense confusion at home, at work, and in at least two near-miss incidents while driving.  I've had conversations with people in which I couldn't have told you what they'd just said if you'd threatened my life.  Now, you can argue whether some people are actually worth paying attention to.  But when your job requires active listening skills?  You pretty much gotta give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

Switching medications is definitely an option.  But like I said before, switching can be a tricky business.  Not all ADHD meds treat things the same way.  My doctor is reluctant to switch me because the Adderall's been working so well, and I agree.  But when there's no Adderall to be had?  I don't know, in a case like this, if it's necessarily true that some medication is better than none.  Given my doctor's hesitance, I think she's inclined to agree.

So while a fairly large chunk of the population is worried beyond worried that all of the progress they've made will wash away like a sand castle (a scenario made even more troubling once one knows what better actually feels like), the people in the position to actually do something about this are shuffling their feet, shrugging their shoulders, and saying "Yeah, doesn't look like it's going to get better any time soon."

Great, well you folks just continue twiddling your thumbs.  We'll be over here, trying to  figure out why the VCR isn't cooking our Lean Pockets.

Or, you could just get off your asses and fix it.  It really is just that simple, assholes.


Anonymous said...

Weird. My boyfriend takes Adderall, we're in Southern Rhode Island, and he has had no problem whatsoever with his precriptions. Neither has my friend's son - they're in Seekonk, MA.

Curtin said...

I ran into the shortage twice when I was living in Southeastern Mass. Once I ended up having to get a new prescription for the brand name for an extra $25, but I haven't even been able to find that around. I wonder where your friend's pharmacies are getting their supplies?

Anonymous said...

We picked up my boyfriend's prescription at the CVS in North Kingston on Friday. My friend picked her son's up the previous Wednesday at CVS in South Attleboro. Not sure where you got the information about all pharmacies in the "region" being out - but it's not true.

Anonymous said...

North Kingstown... forgot the "w"

Curtin said...

I'm not saying that there aren't occasions when some places are able to get some, I've managed to get lucky once or twice. But those times aren't very often, and usually when they do, it's a very small amount that's gone pretty quickly. I've checked with pharmacies, including several CVS stores, all of whom have said the same thing: We had some, but it's gone and we don't know when we're getting more. I'm glad your friends were able to get what they needed. I'm still trying.

Anonymous said...

Right now, it does seem to be about luck and location. As a special educator, I've spoken with many families who have run into trouble finding the medications they've needed. Many of these parents come to meetings and/or sessions with articles in tow about the shortage. (There is certainly no shortage of those! One only has to type adder- into Google before the plethora of articles examining the nationwide shortage and it's impact on Mass residents pops up.) Many of these students and families have begun exploring other avenues (diet, meditation, etc) suggested by physicians, pharmacists, and therapists, though there are those that are opting to travel far and wide as Adderall has been the most effective medication for them by far. Thank you Mr. Curtin, for sharing your thoughts, and thank you, other Anonymous responder, for giving new areas/pharmacies to send families who haven't been as lucky as your boyfriend or friend. Sharing info can certainly bring about great food for thought- and helpful results.