Why is it that if we go to a Doctor to try and get a medication to help with a drinking problem that this can screw us up in trying to get insurance and even employment for the rest of our lives? The very fact that we are choosing to try and change for the better should speak in our favor and not against us. And why should Doctors suggest that we join the AA religion if we seek to get better even when we tell them that the AA religion violates our personal beliefs and has harmed us in the past? Prejudice is all–sheer prejudice.
I am posting the following exchange from the HAMS yahoo group on this topic with the author’s permission for those whom it might help.
This probably sounds like a stupid question, but how can one get a prescription for Naltrexone without going to a doctor, and risking to have “alcoholic” be forever on your medical records? I think that any other health problem to come in the future would be secondary to the label of having an addiction problem.
I asked the same question a few weeks ago. I don’t think anyone had an idea for getting a prescription without going to a doctor. There is the possibility of getting Naltrexone without a prescription, either by purchasing online (haven’t tried this yet, but if people can get Viagra online without a prescription, why not Naltrexone?), or by going to Mexico (last I checked, ten years ago, you could purchase any non-addictive pharmaceutical without a prescription in Mexico, and at low cost too), but then I believe you’re at legal risk while “smuggling” it across the border, and Mexico is dangerous these days as you’ve probably heard.
A third option I’m considering is going through a doctor here in the States, but hiding it. This involves finding an old-fashioned GP type doctor; the kind who runs his own small practice out of a small office in a poor part of town, and hates working with insurance (They are still out there; I know one here in town, but he is getting old. And notice I said “he”; doctors this old school are from the generation when virtually all doctors were men.) Do not go to your usual doctor; do not involve your health plan; do not give your social security number. Pay cash, and request confidentiality. Since Naltrexone is fairly safe and is not addictive (it’s not like you’re looking up a new doctor for a Vicodin refill!), chances are, he’ll write you the prescription. Hand carry the prescription to a single, family-owned pharmacy. Not a chain, and not any pharmacy you’ve ever been to before. For instance, I get a Prozac prescription from Rite Aid. They have all my records and my health insurance info. Any prescription I bring to *any* Rite Aid is automatically added to my records. So find another old-fashioned family business. Tell them you don’t have insurance and will just pay cash. &nb sp;With luck, your records at the GP and at the small pharmacy will never become part of your insurance records, since the insurance company won’t even know that you ever interacted with those two businesses, and won’t know to request records. Caveat: I haven’t tried this yet, but am thinking of it. Anyone seeing a hole in this plan, please point it out.
It’s very sad that we have to be so sneaky to try and get better without screwing ourselves. I for one usually have to purchase my health insurance as an individual (i.e. not part of a group or employer plan), and an “alcoholic” brand on my records (the Scarlet Letter!) would either make it impossible or unaffordable for me to purchase the minimal insurance that I need for emergencies…
Just wanted to give you an update on my earlier shared doctor idea
(how to get prescriptions for alcohol treatment medications without
screwing up your health insurance records). I finally bit the bullet
yesterday and made an appointment to visit my old fashioned, cash
only, sole practitioner family doctor. I’ve been having trouble
tapering off and finally decided that I wanted to try using valium to
taper off so that I could stop alcohol cold turkey. I also wanted to
get a prescription for naltrexone. I had (mostly) success. My doctor
was very understanding, sat down and talked with me for an hour, and
wrote me a prescription for a very small dose of valium which I hope
will allow me to be abstinent for a couple of weeks at least, to
detox. He also measured my blood pressure (a little high but not too
bad), and checked the size of my liver by palpation and by oscultation
(i.e. thumping over the liver area to find the size of the liver by
the type of solid or empty sound returned). My liver is not enlarged,
thank Goddess! I did not get my naltrexone yet, though, although I
expect I will next time I go in. He asked me if I were attending any
“meetings”. I said “no, I don’t like meetings, but I am part of an
online support group”. Turns out (unsurprisingly, since the whole
point of this exercise was to find an old fashioned, conservative
doctor) that he believes naltrexone works best in the context of AA
work, and he wasn’t sure that an online group would be enough, so he
recommended that I visit some of the local groups, and check in with
him in a month if I still want to try the naltrexone. Having been
educated by PCT and others, I didn’t bother arguing about the
usefulness of AA. Instead, since I don’t want to lie to the very
kindly older gentleman, I’ll visit two AA meetings, and if I still
want the naltrexone in a month, I’ll go back and say that I’m now
going to meetings *and* my online group, that I’ve stopped or greatly
reduced my alcohol intake, but I still want the back-up help of the
I then took the valium script to a small family pharmacy, and paid
cash (no insurance records that way). I’m looking forward to detoxing
for a bit, and do expect that I’ll be able to get the naltrexone, if I
want it, in a month.
Based on this experience, I would add one thing to my earlier advice:
participate regularly in HAMS chat, which, after all, is a *meeting*,
IMHO. Then if you’re asked about going to meetings or etc, you can be
prepared to say that you are regularly attending meetings of your
alcohol use support group. I could easily have said this myself if I
hadn’t been surprised (caught off guard) by the question. Now I’ll
have to suffer through two AA meetings. Well, perhaps it’ll be
educational; I’ve never attended an AA meeting, though I tried OA a
couple of times in the past (and did not find it helpful). Now at
least when you AA veterans complain, I’ll know what you’re talking
Cost for the hour exam was $85, and the valium cost $15. I expect my
next office visit, in a month, will be shorter and cheaper. If it all
works, it’ll be money well spent, even just on reduced alcohol
Wish me luck!
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