Counting and Making Cuts with Beads

Counting and Making Cuts with Beads

1. Take one capsule and carefully open it up by holding each end between thumb and forefinger and twisting apart at the middle.

2. Gently pour out all the beads onto the surface, keeping the beads contained to one area.

3. Using the counting implement, count the beads. Some people do so by pushing the beads aside in small groups of 5, counting aloud, and/or making hash marks on paper as they count.

beads in groups of five

4. When done, place the counted beads back into a half of a new capsule, being sure not to lose any beads in the process. Many people do this by using a pair of tweezers to push the beads into the open half of a capsule, and then individually putting the last beads into the capsule with the tweezers. Others count on a piece of paper creased down the middle that they then lift up and use like a funnel, or stick the beads to the tips of their clean fingers and then gently slide them back into the capsule half.

beads in empty gel capsule

5. Secure the two halves of the capsule and place the capsule back in the pill bottle.

6. Rather than counting the number of beads in each and every capsule every single time, many in the lay withdrawal community find it easier to count the number of beads in 4 or 5 capsules, and then calculate the average number of beads in a capsule. Then, they make calculations and cuts from beads based on this average. (They will recalculate the average number of beads if the prescriber switches the dosage amount, or the pharmacy switches the manufacturer-source of the drug. Some people recalculate the average number of beads in the capsules every time they pick up a new refill.)


Layperson tip

Laypeople in the withdrawal community have used many different methods for counting and making cuts with beads, and for putting beads back inside a capsule, beyond the particular approach described here. You may wish to do a web search to learn about other methods.