I have bipolar two and must take lithium on a daily basis. I am required to have regular blood work done. I am going to pursue a teaching opportunity. I am aware that both this medication and the blood work is available. I know that I cannot disclose this information if I wish to attain a job, and I haven’t. I am also aware that if this IS discovered by my employer, I stand to lose my job. This is a risk that I am willing to take.
However, a few concerns remain:
When arriving, what do I do about declaring my medication? (Lithium) If I declare this at the airport, is it going to jeopardize my job? What are the consequences/risks of not declaring my prescription medication-both at the airport and with regards to my employment? Do I really require a note from my psychiatrist? Do they actually search your bags? I don’t even know if I have to put that I am going to be working with a specific school at the time of my arrival. However, I simply CANNOT arrive without lithium, and I really can’t afford to jeopardize my job before even leaving the airport. I have traveled a lot, but never, not even once was it REQUIRED that I declared my prescription medication…
I have been told that expat hospitals with psychiatric services exist, could you provide me with some names and possibly contact information so that I can get on top of this as soon as possible? My searches have proved less than fruitful. I don’t know what the limits are on the number of prescriptions/quantity that is permitted, so I would like to know just how quickly I can find somewhere to meet my needs. I would like to contact them now, while I am still in my home country, if at all possible.
Yes, I am mentally ill. But I am highly functional as long as I take my medication, and I don’t feel that my mental health is anyone’s business, government, employer, or otherwise.
Any insight and/or tips would be MUCH appreciated.
I’m sorry I can’t help much with your questions, but I do want to give you a heads up. I once left the hospital here in Taiwan without paying- I think I simply forgot. When I arrived at work the next day, it turned out the hospital had called my work to tell them I forgot to pay, and my co-worker seemed to know what I’d gone in for I found this to be highly unprofessional from a confidentiality perspective.
Because health insurance will likely be covered by your work, the two might become intwined. I would have a serious discussion with your doctor regarding confidentiality and let him know that you know your rights, in terms of confidentiality. Hopefully that would mitigate the chances of you having an experience like I had.
What makes you think it’s necessary to declare your medication? I wouldn’t assume that’s the case. Having a letter or prescription note from your doctor sounds like a good idea though, even if you end up not using it. In any case, it’s very unlikely your luggage will be searched.
The most recommended hospital/clinic seems to be the Adventist Hospital. I have no first-hand experience with them (and the ones I do have experience with I can’t really recommend).
You do not need to declare your meds. No bags are ever searched and even if they were the customs officer would just see them as meds. He won’t be interested once he knows it ain’t smack. For psych services you’ll have to visit one of the big hospitals, they all have psychiatry departments. This shouldn’t be too difficult. There is a main psychiatric hospital also with a full range of services incl. inpatient (Taipei City Hospital).
Here’s a link to Chang Gang’s psych clinics: cgmh.org.tw/register_en/RMS … Psychiatry
I wouldn’t stress too much. I’ve had unmedicated bipolar girlfriends and got them to a psychiatrist and medded up with minimal hassle.
Doraemonster, this is what makes me think that I need to declare my meds: taiwanembassy.org/ct.asp?xIt … 2973&mp=62
Not only does it say that I NEED a note from my doctor, but that there are legal limits on the amount that I can bring with me. It also says that some medications may be deemed illegal. I’m looking into this with regards to my xanex now.
Xanax is regularly prescribed in Taiwan. You needn’t worry. No one declares personal medicines. I have brought in 2 months supplies of anti-depressants. When i moved to malaysia i had months of anti-inflammatories, xanax, and a bunch of other stuff. No one checks your bags.
I think they only ever care about actual drugs (to the point that there are sometimes sniffer dogs by the conveyor belt, but that’s before you get a chance to declare anything anyway). You should be fine, I’ve checked it now at the source:
[quote=“Customs Administration”][…] Six items (2 bottles or boxes per item) of other personal medicines which are not on the list are allowed to be carried by passengers.
That’s for stuff like carrying needles onto a plane or bringing morphine in and stuff.
Docs in Taiwan love to prescribe and I’ve flown all over with a bucket-load of SSRIs, Ambien and Klonopin and the rest, back in the day. No-one cares. Just don’t try and bring in more than 100ml of contact lense fluid or eyebrow tweezers …
Of course landing in facist Kiwiland, alleged said girlfriend did have her luggage searched. N.Z’s finest, on finding the anti-depressants, then got in her face with the immortal line “What’s these for then? Are you a loser or something?”. NZ customs and immigration sometimes have to be seen to be believed…
Immigration officials in NZ are trained to try and upset potential lawbreakers by getting in their faces. I fly in on a UK passport sometimes and always get the third degree when I do. Flew into Wellington once and had a code red called on me, bright light interrogation like in the movies (code red means high suspicion of drug smuggling I think). All because flying Taipei-Sydney-Wgtn is a “suspicious” route. Of course I was completely unruffled because I was flying into my home town and as soon as they realized that they dropped the pretense, didn’t even bother opening my back pack. They were originally threatening me with a watch strap sweat test for drug residues.
Bring a note from your doctor on his or her letterhead stating that he or she has prescribed the medication to you, his or her patient, for bipolar disorder. Also bring a copy of the prescription. Then do not offer this information. Just have it in case your luggage is searched (unlikely) or the border official asks (highly unlikely). Do not tell your school.