Explaining Buprenorphine Treatment to Your Boss
It’s natural to be anxious about how you keep all those appointments at the MAT program without divulging your private business to your employer. It’s true that some employers will want to fire you if they find out you’re struggling with addiction. But rest assured: If your bosses haven’t realized that you have a problem with heroin or pain pills, you do not have to tell them. Simply ask the doctor or your counselor at the MAT program for a note that you are under the doctor’s care.
Be prepared to answer for your visits. If your boss presses you to explain the reason for your appointments, all you have to say is, “I’m just going there for social service appointments because my family doctor referred me” or “The doctor’s just treating me for personal reasons.” You don’t need to worry that your answer is a dead giveaway; there are dozens of social service agencies out there.
If your boss or the personnel manager asks you directly if this doctor is prescribing methadone or buprenorphine treatment for you, all you have to say is “I think people go there for lots of reasons.” It really is none of their business. Just keep your cool and remain polite. No matter how inquisitive they are or how much they snoop, you have a right to privacy under the law as long as you continue to do your job well.
What Will My Family Think?
Even though your family may express their love and support as you go into buprenorphine treatment, keep in mind it will take them some time to recover from the trust you’ve broken with them. You lost that trust from a whole string of abuses, and you can’t expect to earn it back in one day. Remain patient with them and answer their questions to a level that’s comfortable with you.
Managing Your Medication
The buprenorphine treatment recommended by the doctor at your initial visit will most likely be 8 mg, either a filmstrip or a pill. Some people take a half dose and yet others take a one-and-a-half dose. During your subsequent visits, the clinic nurses and doctor will find the right level of buprenorphine treatment for your needs.
Buprenorphine treatment works best when you take it every day at the same time. You must take your buprenorphine dose exactly as prescribed; do not take a little extra. Do not split your dose without permission from the doctor. Do not give your dose to others or share it with someone else in treatment. Sometimes the doctor will require you to bring in your medication for a count, and your pill or film strip count must be accurate.
Most buprenorphine treatment clinics require an appointment to get started. If you haven’t made that phone call yet, do it now! It’s the first step that only you can take that will change your life.