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Author Topic: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day  (Read 10706 times)

Offline suboxstitute (OP)

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Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« on: September 30, 2015, 02:01:01 PM »
Opiates galore back in the wild 1980s....  free for the asking ...  (yes this is a true story!)     "Suboxstitute plays Nurse Jackie" for real

Back in the early-mid 1980s, I worked for a group of surgeons as an admin. assistant.   It was a great job, everything from scheduling surgeries, dealing w/the doctor's correspondence/medical records, interacting with patients on the phone & in person and calling in prescriptions.    I still know Dr. D's   (the doctor I worked for) DEA number by heart I called into so many scripts.... Each of the (three doctors) had their own "girl"  (yup.. that's what we were called; it ended up sort of being the reason I left to go back to school).    The other two "girls" happened to be nurses (LPNS, not RNs) but I was interested in all things medical, and had good office skills... so I functioned fine.   

I wrote and typed up a lot of his routine correspondence (referral letters to other doctors, info for insurance companies, etc.) and with his blessing, I got super-good at forging his name.  I can't believe he actually knew I was doing it, encouraged it, marvelled at how well I did it, and never thought I would use that skill for something other than signing letters!

It was rather a  "high-end" surgical practice; in fact Dr. D.  was the team doctor for an NBA basketball team, so we had very interesting patients.     Dr. D.  used to put notes on his patient charts - -  one was  "NTS"  which meant  "not too smart".    Ha.   

One thing that was amazing in retrospect was the amount of sample bottles of painkillers (10-20 to a bottle) that the drug reps would drop off: mainly Tylenol 3, (and Tylenol 4), later, Vicodin & even Percocets.   We had NO internal tracking/inventory control within our office; we all had access and the docs even said we could take 1-2 to keep at home.  Well, this was the beginnning of my love affair with opiates so I helped myself a LOT, thank you very much.   

I was careful in when/how often I used them.  I had two young children, was working full time (my husband was a med student and died during this time, leaving me with a baby and a four year old, so I was raising the kiddos.. It was suicide but that's another story).    I wanted the opies mainly for energy in the evenings and on weekends so I could do everything I needed to do w/the kids.     It's hard for me to believe now that I managed to avoid a real addiction during those years (this job lasted four years)  - - -  after this I happily remarried and was drug-free for over 15 years, only picking up a habit again when my kids were almost thru' their teens.  Anyway....

I had to look up the timelines of vicodin/hydrocodone and oxycodone/Percocet to see when they were introduced.  The guy I worked for typically scripted codeine (T3/4) and now I know why:  for most of his practice up to then, Vicodin/hydrocodone and Percocet/oxycodone were not available.

1976  . . . The U.S. Food and Drug Administration first approved Percocet
1978   . . .Knoll introduces Vicodin, five milligrams of hydrocodone with 500 milligrams of acetaminophen, in the U.S.
1983   . . . Generic Vicodin available

When  the samples got low, I learned how very, very easy it was to call in scripts for painkillers for myself to supplement the samples.  This wouldn't be even remotely possible now with all the monitoring, etc.  but I could simply get on the phone, call one of the several pharmacies Dr. D. used often for patients  (not my regular one) and say " Hi!   It's Subox from Dr. D's office calling in a script.  How're you doing doing today?  Hot enough (or cold enough) for ya?  How about those Packers?  Blah blah blah.... 

Then:

This is for: "Patient name:  (my real name)."  " DOB is  -- -- ---- "    "She needs 30 T3s - or whatever -  1-2 q4h prn pain, with two refills.  DEA  number  - - - - - - - -  etc" .     

This was for the scripts that could be called in.   I only ONCE ever forged his name on a script for percocets and I regretted it right away and never, ever did it again.  I still shudder to think about it; a paper trail! 

I never did get caught, but one of the other girls did and it was bad, really bad.    She was a nurse and lost her license.  What happened was she was writing a LOT of scripts for percs and forging her doctor's name, using multiple pharmacies (but remember, the Internet had not even been invented yet!)   

One day she was on her regularly scheduled afternoon off, and a pharmacy called to verify something off the script.  The office manager took the call and walked back to Dr. S and said "The pharmacist is on the line about the prescription you wrote for Mary (not her real name)."       The office manager didn't know, I don't think, that it was a forged script.  I think she honestly thought the doctor had written a legit script for his assistant and the pharmacist had a legit question.   

And it was all over for her right then; the doc she worked for hadn't written a script for her and told the pharmacist as much, and got some additional damning info as well.  His next call was to the police.   I think it was later that same day she was arrested and put in cuffs at home in front of her kids, and we never saw her in the office again.  I felt so sorry for her, we were really close, and I could imagine she was using for the same reason I was. 

I slowed down with the calling in scripts after that.  But I didn't stop right away.    Funny thing is that if I had taken that call, I might have figured out what she was doing and covered for her until I was able to talk to her....   always felt bad about that.

So that is my story for the night; I've been cleaning out our house a LOT in prep for a move sometime in the next year or so, and came across a wedding gift from the doctor I worked for back so many years ago, plus some old letters, so I was really feeling nostalgic.   
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher 1895-1986

Offline Daughter of Dionysus

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2015, 03:58:19 PM »
That's an awesome story

When I read it to hero
He was nervous for you
After hearing what happened to your colleague


I remember you a lil bit from the phile
It nice to get to know you now

If you got anymore stories
Keep em coming
We are all curious about
The things
That may harm us

-Federico Garcia Lorca

Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity!
- BulletTooth Tony

Offline suboxstitute (OP)

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2015, 09:10:31 PM »
Hey DoD thanks.   Aw so nice that Hero was nervous for me!  I'm thinking that the statute of limitations has run out on my crimes.   Funny I didn't think of what I was doing as criminal in any way, shape or form at the time (not hurting anyone else, etc. and I was taking good care of my kids, as least the kids tell me I did!)

I  looked it up to make sure they can't knock down my door anymore....at least for federal drug crimes.  "18 USC 3282, provides a five-year window of limitation for the prosecution of noncapital federal offenses. Although some offenses are exempt, the majority may not be prosecuted 60 months after the alleged offense."    And state law where I live is six years.   
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher 1895-1986

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2015, 11:52:38 PM »
Exellent story.  Thanks for taking the time to write it up.  Those were the good old day, no?

Did the Vicodin samples come in a little white cardbord box that opened up to be like a free candy dispenser with individual tablets in silver foil packets? A few years after your story my father workd with a doctor who was always giving him thise boxes and I was always helping myself to a few of those. And back then a couple of Vikes made me feed GOOOOD...  Now a fistful would go unnoticed.

The doc my dad worked with was always writing Pecs, Viks and Valiums for him and I don't  think he had anything worse than a mild backache and the first signs of aging. Later on I wondered if it might have been the doctor subtley getting my father dependent on the drugs to keep the my dad referring patients to him (he was a personal injury lawyer, well kind of).

Thanks again. I will give you rep.

Offline Opus

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2015, 12:25:59 AM »
Quote from: suboxtitute
but remember, the Internet had not even been invented yet!

Arpanet launched late 1969.

Just sayin' :)
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It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society -- Krishnamurti

Offline suboxstitute (OP)

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2015, 02:23:40 AM »
Quote from: suboxtitute
but remember, the Internet had not even been invented yet!

Arpanet launched late 1969.

Just sayin' :)

Yup you're totally right... (but Al Gore didn't invent the "generally available commerical internet"  till later!  (Ha).       

Seriously though, the first time I personally used the Internet via Mosaic I think? browser was around '88-89 in grad school.....   So 1981-85 was def before the time of pharmacies being connected via internet and state-wide prescription tracking, etc . 
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher 1895-1986

Offline suboxstitute (OP)

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2015, 02:26:47 AM »
Exellent story.  Thanks for taking the time to write it up.  Those were the good old day, no?

Did the Vicodin samples come in a little white cardbord box that opened up to be like a free candy dispenser with individual tablets in silver foil packets? A few years after your story my father workd with a doctor who was always giving him thise boxes and I was always helping myself to a few of those. And back then a couple of Vikes made me feed GOOOOD...  Now a fistful would go unnoticed.

The doc my dad worked with was always writing Pecs, Viks and Valiums for him and I don't  think he had anything worse than a mild backache and the first signs of aging. Later on I wondered if it might have been the doctor subtley getting my father dependent on the drugs to keep the my dad referring patients to him (he was a personal injury lawyer, well kind of).

Thanks again. I will give you rep.


Yes!  Yes!   Oh, the memories.... that is totally how the Vicodin samples came!   It was an orthopedic surgery practice and we had lots of people come over from the ER to have (not surgical/not open) fractures set, etc.  If it was during business hours, our docs didn't leave the office to go over to the ER for fractures.  Anyhoo, we'd send those folks out the door with a fresh cast and a few boxes of this stuff.     The staff didn't take ALL of it; we def thought of the patients.  And I totally remember when 2 of them would have me feeling OK. 
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher 1895-1986

Offline Anti-hero

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2015, 02:54:52 AM »
Hey DoD thanks.   Aw so nice that Hero was nervous for me!  I'm thinking that the statute of limitations has run out on my crimes.   Funny I didn't think of what I was doing as criminal in any way, shape or form at the time (not hurting anyone else, etc. and I was taking good care of my kids, as least the kids tell me I did!)

I  looked it up to make sure they can't knock down my door anymore....at least for federal drug crimes.  "18 USC 3282, provides a five-year window of limitation for the prosecution of noncapital federal offenses. Although some offenses are exempt, the majority may not be prosecuted 60 months after the alleged offense."    And state law where I live is six years.

Not saying your posts are dumb
But you do not seem old enough to
Have raised kids
Young at heart I guess
And I agree it shouldn't be a crime
When it's only you that you could be harming
With all that aspirin and acetaminophen
Doesn't seem like a crime
I might be a wuss
But when I get to thinking
The drugs I do are illegal
Makes me nervous
Scared to death
No reason why
Do one another
To get me by
Think about the things I said
Read the page it's cold and dead

Offline Opus

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2015, 03:38:26 AM »
Quote from: suboxtitute
but remember, the Internet had not even been invented yet!

Arpanet launched late 1969.

Just sayin' :)

Yup you're totally right... (but Al Gore didn't invent the "generally available commerical internet"  till later!  (Ha).       

Seriously though, the first time I personally used the Internet via Mosaic I think? browser was around '88-89 in grad school.....   So 1981-85 was def before the time of pharmacies being connected via internet and state-wide prescription tracking, etc .

Oh for sure, I just couldn't resist ;) Lots of people don't realize that the Internet is really much older than they think.

88-89 is earlier than me! My folks bought a computer like 93ish and we had AOL (by the minute back then), that's where I started to get comfortable with computers. I had a junky "friend" who was a unix geek & hacking code for Sub Pop around then, but I was clueless. Before that I'd actually had a computer class in the art school I went to, that I dropped cos I wasn't learning anything from the spastic instructor and I was getting really frustrated with her, she didn't teach well. If someone had told me at that time that I'd go on to study computers, I would have been really surprised, in 1990 I didn't see it at all.. Funny how things change..

I digress!
« Last Edit: October 01, 2015, 03:40:20 AM by Opus »
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Offline Wildcat

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2015, 04:04:02 AM »
I remember when OXYCONTIN first came out, and drug rep's were really pushing it as the first long acting pain reliever that doctor's did NOT have to worry about addiction, lol-they would leave scores of SAMPLES of oxycontin=coming to the office WEEKLY-bringing lunch and more GOOD NEWS about oxycontin and really pushing samples for our patients to try
"They put their hand out to you when you need it, and you have to remember to put your hand out when they need it too, that's what friends do"  - Mick Dodge

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2015, 05:05:21 AM »
^^ that's fucked up.

Seriously how is that different than a stereotypical "drug pusher?"
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The word "republican" comes in the dictionary right after "reptile" and just before "repugnant." -- Julia Roberts

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Offline suboxstitute (OP)

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2015, 10:20:16 AM »
Hero  - -   I like the fact that you said I seem younger or at least young at heart     :)    I like to think so.   

Yes it's true I raised two kids . . . was in my 20's when I had them . .  the younger of the two - - daughter (in her early 30's) -  just had a baby girl six months ago so now I'm a NEW GRANDMA which I still can't believe.     It's so great.   But they live way 'cross the country so....

Anyway my relationship with my kids wasn't impaired (@ least I don't think so) by my drug use probably because without really planning it this way, I didn't use (much)  from the time the older one started grade school until the time the younger was graduating high school.   THEN I got all addicted to opiates and benzos and stuff.   They know but not everything.   

When I was first on bupe (2007)  I had to go to "sub group" (therapy facilitated by a counselor at the doctor's office) and I was pretty much the oldest one there.   

The ironic/funny thing is that my daughter is a mental health professional & has a certification in substance abuse counseling.   (My son does "unofficial" counseling - he drives a cab & tends bar). 

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher 1895-1986

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2015, 10:37:17 AM »
You're an excellent storyteller.  Your style is good too.   :)   

I'm glad to hear there was a time when opiates weren't viewed so negatively.  I wish we could get back to that.  It's entirely swung to the right. 

I'm very interested in knowing what types of opiates were typically used prior to the introduction of Vicodin and Percocet.  The tales of Tincture of Opium and Paregoric piqued my interest. 
Transparency is necessary to ensure decent staff members get elected. Members need to know when staff are misbehaving, so members can be informed voters.

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2015, 12:01:33 PM »
Very cool, I had no idea you were in the "game" way back when. I liked you story.

I'd like to say seeds are a better safer option. But I can't help but wish I was in your shoes back then.

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Re: Subox plays Nurse Jackie back in the day
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2015, 01:27:22 PM »
Awesome post sue

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