Should Naltrexone be reclassified as an Over the Counter medication?

Time for a discussion about whether naltrexone should be reclassified as an over the counter (OTC) medication…

Here is an instant messaging conversation that I had yesterday with a friend from Ireland who has just recently gone onto The Sinclair Method and who has had some challenges obtaining naltrexone. For the purpose of ensuring her anonymity, let’s call her “Alice”…

 

Alice:

Hi Gary.  Hope you’re well, am still staying on track and seeing improvements already.  I nipped into Lidl last night and got a couple of bits I needed.  I headed to the check out down through the last alcohol isle….think their stores are the same layout in the UK.  Anyway.  Got to the check out and my brain goes….oh yeah…you wanted wine.  And so I doubled back for some I giggled inside, that would never have happened before my TSM journey.  Still drinking each evening but never without my 1.5 hour window after taking my nal.  This evening I came home to a letter from HPRA,  the health products regulatory authority of Ireland telling me that they have seized my medication….that I have already received?????

Alice's letter from the HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority) of Ireland.
Alice’s letter from the HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority) of Ireland.

…So I rang my counsellor and she reckons that perhaps my medication was sent out twice …which I doubt very much.  I think it more likely that big brother is watching.  Cannot understand that if I have acted unlawfully then why are they not prosecuting me.  My counsellor reckons it’s best to not respond and draw attention.  A bit scary and very very annoyed at the same time.  F*ckin bullies.

 

Me:

Huh?!? That’s nuts. And you’re quite right… pretty scary.

Jeezus, do these people have nothing better to do?

 

Alice:

Obviously not.  My counsellor warned me that something like this could happen.  I’m fuming.  Some bloody jobsworth being a right bully.

 

Me:

Yeah.

 

[Alice then discusses a possible not-exactly-legal strategy that she could use as an alternative method to acquire the naltrexone she needs, her defiant sentiment being “How dare they!!!”]

 

Me:

Apparently it’s legally available over the counter from pharmacies in Spain, you know.

 

Alice:

Yes I read that alright.  I might be going on holiday then 🙂

I’ll find a way round it.  I’m not stopping this.

 

Me:

Hehe. That’d be one way to do it. 🙂

 

Alice:

A weekend in Spain sounds good.  So feck off you Irish bully boys

 

Me:

Heh. You could kill two birds with one stone by upping your supply and having a nice little holiday in Spain. 😉

 

Alice:

I’m going to research it and see where the pharmacies are.  Might hedge my bets and have to post them back to myself.  They might be the same at the airport.  You know how bad airport security is these days.

 

Me:

It’s appalling that naltrexone is so hard to get hold of if you need it… you know, if this was a treatment for cancer there’d be protests, but because it’s a treatment for alcoholism nobody cares… which is so wrong.

 

Alice:

I know.  I’m treated like a criminal.  What I can’t understand is that they state that I’ve acted unlawfully, yet the end of the letter States that if they don’t hear back from me within 28 days then the case is dropped and they destroy the evidence….bit Irish if you ask me.

 

Me:

Haha. I like your way with words. 😉

 

Alice:

How come they don’t try a prosecute me if they’re really serious….no bloody sense.

 

Me:

Part of me wishes I got [caught and] prosecuted for purchasing mine from [name redacted]…. just because I’m the type of person who would go to the media to shame the system.

 

Alice:

You rebel!  What was the site you used? 

Thing is…if I was on the better side of this I might fight it.  I just couldn’t do it yet.

 

Me:

[Name redacted], though the package that I received was mailed from a factory in India

 

Alice:

I’m going to keep the letter though….I might send an anonymous copy to a paper…..you’ve got me thinking now.

I might just follow this up if they keep me anonymous…..send them a little snippit with links to Claudia’s clip* and some other online stuff.  Some reporter might like to get a little start with this 😁

Hmmmmmm….I think I need a new me email address 🤔

[* Note: see HERE for Claudia Christian’s acclaimed TEDx lecture about The Sinclair Method]

Me:

It might make for a good change.org petition… a campaign to get naltrexone changed to an over the counter medication.

 

Alice:

This might be more useful than I thought.  My contribution ….even though I haven’t got tangible results yet.

I really can’t do it as myself though just yet.  Can you help?

You can use the letter if you hide my name and the letter reference/case number?

 

Me:

How could I help? Would you like me to write a piece on my website about it, obscuring your name and other details?

 

Alice:

Yes do please.

I’m going to contact the papers here anonymously too.

 

Me:

Cool. I look forward to writing it!

 

Alice:

Do you want a colour scan?  I can do it in work tomorrow.

 

Me:

Sure.

 

Alice:

Brilliant.  Thanks Gary 😁

 

Me:

I can use Photoshop to obscure your name.

 

Alice:

Yes….I’ll send it tomorrow.  Thank you so much.

 

Me:

You’re welcome.


…Okay, so I’ve redacted the content of this conversation in certain places in order to preserve Alice’s anonymity but it reads fine, I think.

Jesus, it makes me so angry – just the injustice of it.

THE LAW REALLY IS AN ASS. 

I mean, here’s someone who’s (rather nobly) doing everything possible in order to help herself recover from a horrible, debilitating addiction… and yet she has to put up with this – being made to feel like a criminal; it’s just wrong on so many levels… absolutely scandalous.

Something needs to be done, I think… and I would love to read other people’s feedback on this.

And, in closing, I would like to thank Alice for sharing her experience and also for her commitment to the cause. I think that it’s actually quite brave of her to allow me to publish this.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

 

 

 

Author: Gary Bell

Gary Bell is a writer, illustrator and teacher based in Hartlepool in the north east of England. The Sinclair Method (a revolutionary pharmacological treatment for alcohol addiction) saved his life nearly 5 years ago.

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