Audio Stories

‘Daily Picks Ups and the Raincoat of Fear’ Steve.

Reported by Steve

Published on Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Healthcare Access Mental Health Recovery Substance Use
Audio Stories

‘Daily Picks Ups and the Raincoat of Fear’ Steve.

Written by Steve

Published on Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Healthcare Access

Mental Health


Substance Use

Please note: This report talks about substance use




When us addicts talk about daily pick ups we’re talking about the prescription of opiate substitutes. Until we ‘earn’ our drug worker’s trust we are made to pick that medication up from the chemist every day. After we earn that trust we’re moved to weekly picks up whereby we are trusted with seven days of medication issued once a week from a nominated chemist.

In this piece Steve talks about the anxieties caused by a scripting system that starts at a position of mistrust, a system thats inflexibility completely fails to understand the illness of addiction. It can be incredibly difficult to win the trust of drug workers and be moved on to weekly picks which can make it impossible for people to visit friends out of town for a few days [often an essential part of recovery] or go to work every day.  In the cold light of day it seems that the system supposes addicts don’t visit friends out of town or get jobs. In fact it seems to be saying that we will break their trust and fails totally to look at addiction as an illness but rather a choice made by people who just make bad decisions.

Addiction may often lead you to make the wrong decision whilst trying desperately hard to make right one. The scripting industry needs to start recognising the desire of many addicts to do the right thing and create the conditions necessary for them to do so. These conditions are rooted in trust, which once given can then be returned. Surely, it is up to the scripting industry to initiate that cycle by offering trust to the addict and not the other way round. 

While there is no doubt that some people want and need to be on daily picks surely people need to be treated on a case to case basis. One thing for sure is they need to stop the punitive practice of cutting people’s scripts when they fail to pick up for three days.  [Mat Amp Project Coordinator] 

Disclaimer: This is the personal view of Mat Amp and is not necessarily Groundswell’s stand as an organisation. 



This is Steve July the 13th. Daily pick ups, yeah. In hindsight, when I was on a script, the daily pick ups, it probably was for the best for me, I couldn’t see it at the time. Because medicinally yes, it does give you that stability, you know, but the stress I used to go through.

The worry, you know, I used to…if you don’t get to that chemist on time, this is the downside to daily pick ups, you’ve had it. And you know if it’s a Friday and it’s your Friday, Saturday, Sunday [on Friday you may pick up for the next three days if the chemist is closed on a weekend]  you’re kicked off your script. I mean, how punitive is that , it’s shocking really. No wonder I’m worried about, you know, not picking it up, not making it to the chemist because anything could happen.

You know, when you’re in that world, you could get arrested or you could be waiting to score and as crazy as it sounds, that takes priority. You know, if they keep saying to you ‘I’ll be there in half an hour’ you are going to hang on. I know it sounds nuts but that’s the truth. Yeah it is.

You know, the other side of it as well, is the mental side of it. The stress I used to put myself through. I used to think ‘what if a bomb gone off?’ ‘What if the chemist has died and they are not opened an I can’t get my medicine? ‘That’s because of how ill I knew I’d be without it, which does beg the question, why on earth would I risk not making it my priority to get there? Why would I risk getting arrested and not being able to pick me script up? That’s the power of addiction, isn’t it?

Without a doubt. You know, the flip side of this as well, if you’re not on daily pickups, I used to try and organise it around where maybe twice a week, but that’s the bit that’s definitely is open to abuse. Because if you’re on 60 mil a day, so that’s 420 mil a week, so 210 mil twice a week Probably Friday they’d give you Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Yeah, so they give you you’re four so that would be two forty and then you’d pick up the 180 or whatever it is the other side of your script.

But if I’ve got a load I’m definitely a quaffing the vast majority of that, definitely . You know, you can’t underestimate the strength of methadone. Well, that’s because, that’s the mental health side of addiction, I think.

Maybe I put too much warranty on everything being addiction but to me it is. It dominates my life and it’s being on a script that definitely dominates your life because of the fear that is generated, the fear that goes on when you’1re on a script of not getting it. I think you’d have to be on one to understand what that entails actually.

It is horrific. I mean, I know I’m dramatic 98 percent of the time, but it really is, it really is frightening because like I say, you know how ill you’re going to be and you know, the archaic rule that you get kicked off if you don’t pick up for three days. I mean, that’s just…it’s fascistic, It really is.

It Is shocking that. It’s like you saying, yes, we know you you’re ill, we know you have an illness, we’re going to give you this medicine because you are ill but if your illness plays out we’re going to come down on you like a ton of bricks. You know, do you know what I mean, where’s the, where’s the sense in that, where is the care.

I hate to use this analogy because it gets bounded about this word far too much, but, you know, God forbid if someone’s got cancer, they don’t give them the cancer treatment, wherever it may be, but then it doesn’t come with a threat, does it? If you don’t carry this treatment out to the letter of the law that you’ve signed for?

Of course, he signed for it because you’re desperate. I’m desperate for that medication, the methadone. the Suboxone, whatever it is, you’re desperate for it. So you, of course, I’ll sign for it, you know, and if I don’t adhere to them rules then they’re going to kick me off it and clearly I’m going to be really, really ill. So is it any wonder that I’m walking around, like just wearing a raincoat of fear? Huh? Yeah, true that.


Written by Steve

Steve joined the Listen Up project as a volunteer, initially working on the Call and Check project before becoming a volunteer on the Covid Monitoring Project. When Listen Up was launched Steve successfully applied for one of the new Project Officer posts. Although he enjoyed the role he decided his skills were best suited to volunteering at this time. As a result he is once again a volunteer reporter and has now done the HHPA [Homeless Health Peer Advocate] training which allows him to advocate for vulnerable people, helping them to access health care in a way that is best for them. Steve has roots in Manchester but travelling and meeting people from all walks of life while discussing the price of chips is something that Steve would describe as a perfect day! As a result he has recently moved to London.

Read all of Steve's articles


Healthcare Access Mental Health Recovery Substance Use