I am the Mother of an Addict learning more about addiction and recovery every day. One of my adult children is an Addict who thankfully is in Recovery (a Rehab program) right now. My daughter came into her addiction via a broken bone that had to have surgery and pins put in it. The surgeon gave her a “lovely”pain management prescription for Norcos. She got a 90 Day supply given to her by the surgeon, and then when she had taken all of them within the first month, the doctor authorized a refill… TWICE in that same 90 day time period.
Norcos is a opioid-based pain medication with some common side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, upset stomach, anxiety, and ADDICTION… just to name a few. I think the pharmaceutical companies should have to list ADDICTION as the number one side effect to be concerned about. What do I know though? I am not a doctor or a pharmacist... I am a “Normy.”
A “Normy” is what my daughter, the addict, refers to me and my long-term partner, Max, when we are at Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings. I recently used that term “normy” on a positive review of Tiffany Jenkin’s book, High Achiever on her blog to refer to myself. I got attacked from “Stephanie”, who replied to my positive review with; “I doubt you have ever heard the term “normy” in an Al-Anon meeting. I am an addict, and I find your comment offensive. Am I abnormal? Am I a freak because I’m an addict? I didn’t choose to be one. Your use of normy is judgmental. I feel sorry for your daughter. No wonder she is an addict.” My response to her was “Wow, how hateful. I apologize I didn’t intend to offend anyone. I didn’t make up the term and I did in fact hear it used in several narcotic anonymous meetings. We are just trying to cope.”
Her attack made me so sad. I discussed it with Max and he reminded me that she is wrong. Being an addict is not normal. Oh yeah, that’s true. The definition of normal is:
Normal: noun. Definition of normal (Entry)
1: a form or state regarded as the norm: STANDARD, 2: one that is normal, 3a: a normal line, b: the portion of a normal line to a plane curve between the curve and the x-axis.
Normal may also be defined as occurring naturally. Choosing to use drugs is the exact opposite of normal. It is the choice to alter ones natural state and be “high”. So yes, Stephanie, you are not normal. You may or may not be a freak. I don’t know about that. Being the mother of an addict is not normal.
This month I have learned how to read drug test kits better. My daughter has a child that is living with us and before she can visit with that child the court has ordered that she and the father of the child, both must have drug tests done and be clean.
Sometimes when they come to visit, they have had drug test done by the rehab programs or sober living facilities that send me the results. That is easier to deal with. I just had to learn how to read the print outs and what the abbreviations for each drug stood for. The rehab places usually administered an eight panel or 15 panel drug tests. These are usually a pee in the cup test (urine test), but can also be a blood test, or even a mouth swab test.
A "panel" test has numbers for the number of drugs being tested for in that drug test procedure. People in recovery or the court system or people dealing with addicts refer to as a four-panel test or a 15-panel test. You can buy drug test kits at your local pharmacy, or even the dollar store. Usually these test kits are a urine test, like a home pregnancy test, that shows if the person taking the test is positive or negative for each of the drugs included in the panel.
My daughter sent me an email before one of the visits and told me, “Mom, Just so you know what is included in each drug panel test typically;
*Four Panel Test—AMP, THC, OPI, ETG, (Amphetamine, Marijuana, Opiates, Alcohol).
*Six Panel Test—AM, THC, OPI, ETG, PCP, COC (*added to the prior test PCP and Cocaine).
*Eight Panel test—AMP, THC, OPI, ETG, MDMA, PCP, COC, BZO, BAR (Note: this is the most common standard test added Benzodiazepines and Barbiturates to the prior test kit).
The test kits can be testing for illegal drugs, alcohol, and even Methadone, or other treatment for drug addiction drugs, and prescribed medicines as well. I have now seen 15 Panel and 24 Panel Drug Tests.
If my daughter and her boyfriend are not in a recovery program, which seems to occur during the summer months, then we have to administer the drug test at our home. So I go in the bathroom with my daughter, and Max has to go in the bathroom with the boyfriend while they each pee in the test kit cup.
We have to be in the bathroom with them, because we have learned that addicts can buy male and female drug-free urine at the smoke shops. Then they heat the urine up, or use a hand warmer (like you put in your gloves when you are in the snow to keep warm), because the drug test kits make sure the urine for the test is at body temperature. Another trick is that the addict gets urine from someone who isn’t on drugs, and puts that in a condom taped to the inside of their leg with the hand-warmer, and uses that for an unmonitored drug test. So that is why one of us has to be in the bathroom. I dislike that part of this addict world.
Then we wait a few minutes for the test to show negative for each of the drugs listed on the test kit cup. We take a picture of that test kit after we write their name and the date on each side of the cup, and save the picture (not the test kit pee cup, yuck) to show the courts proof that we are having both parents tested before every visit with their child. This is now the normal for our lives.
How to Read a Drug Test
You can read our family's whole story on our blog at AddictAway.com