Q: Hello ma’am, I have a very serious and dangerous issue. I need your help please. Save me from killing myself. I am a sickle cell patient. I was introduced to Pentazocine early last year. Before I knew it, I got addicted. From August last year till date, I took 2 or 3 ampoules every day. Please, save me. I don’t want to die or damage my heart or go mad please.
A: The first step towards dealing with an addiction is realizing that you have one. You’re already at this point. Killing oneself never helped anyone (whether intentionally or through a process that you know will inevitably lead to this)…the one taking his life is essentially saying that they’ve given up on life! And yet, life is so beautiful and has so much to offer. Every morning brings with it, the sheer miracle of life, being surrounded by people who love us and the resolve to do it better today than yesterday! I just lost a friend today and that’s why your mail struck an even stronger chord (…and no, she didn’t take her own life). She was someone who saw enough in my ideas to start me on my TV journey. People always think that you need to know someone to succeed. Not true! You just need someone who believes in you and is willing to go all out for you. This starts when you believe in yourself first and hey, you can’t be believing in yourself and wanting to die at the same time!
And remember all the people who love you, people who are rooting for you, people who, practically, feel as much pain as you do whenever you’re unhappy…think of these people and remind yourself that they make life beautiful for you.
More specifically to your matter, pentazocine is a pain killer, originally thought to be non-addictive, but that has since been found to be a drug of addiction that affects mood and behavior. This drug is used for moderate to severe pain and I assume that this was prescribed during an episode of bone crisis, perhaps. It can be taken as tablet or as an injection which should be taken under a doctor’s supervision. So, it’s worrisome to me how come you have an abundant supply of this drug. Are you buying it or getting a supply from somewhere?
Pentazocine can cause addiction and subsequently people addicted to this can go into withdrawal if they try to stop taking it because they have already become physically dependent on it. The drug appears to make addicts more sociable, euphoric and serene. The presence of underlying psychological problems like depression can compound this issue.
To wean yourself off this, it’s usually best to get into a voluntary program for drug addiction where there will be a combination of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. A long hard look at one’s life including unhealthy relationships, toxic home/family environment etc will be encouraged. The program will involve detoxification, exercise, counseling and other creative activities like music, art, dance, drama etc Getting enrolled with a help group will also be helpful, if this can be found.
If you perhaps live in an area where none of the above can be readily achieved, you may have to go it alone…perhaps with the support of family. There are two options: cold turkey (where you stop completely at once and ride out the withdrawal symptoms) or where you stop gradually and you reduce the dose of drugs from 3 ampoules daily, to 2 and then 1 and then on alternate days until it’s completely tapered off.
I will speak with a clinical psychologist friend tomorrow and see if I can get you more specific help. Do you live in Nigeria? Please inbox me your location so that even if you’re not in Lagos, he can suggest a good alternative.
Life is beautiful…don’t be in a hurry to let go.
In memory of my friend and mentor: Pamela ‘Uchenna’ Ofoegbu (beautiful inside and outside). I know you’re at peace and you’re resting. I truly hope I will be able to show kindness one way or another to your children. Rest in peace…
Have a good night y’all