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Maine's Strict Opioid Law Is Harming Chronic Pain Patients | World of Hurt (HBO)



Maine has one of the highest overdose rates in the country mr. speaker no one living in Maine today can ignore the addiction epidemic that is upon us and the state has responded aggressively by passing one of the nation's strictest laws on prescribing opioids it caps most patients at a hundred milligrams per day but the law has had unintended consequences hundreds of chronic pain sufferers are now finding it impossible to access their typical dosage after some Mainers pushed back on these restrictions lawmakers said these patients could qualify for higher doses under what's called the palliative care exemption despite the assurances though patients are still struggling to find doctors who will give them the medicine they need this is what I've done for a long time and you know I know is near ready to give it up you know back pain or not and you know as long as I can control the pain issues I think I have to deal with then I can keep doing this they passed this law and they put it through very fast no matter if your leg has been amputated or or if you've got a bad back or whatever the reason everybody was getting the same in January they took one pill away and that wasn't too bad it could deal with that but then when I got down to you know that they had taken five away per day and I I get so that I went home after lunch when I was in Augusta at that hearing they told me that I come under the palliative care exception to the law and go back and tell your doctor that and you'll be all set my doctor didn't want to hear that and a lot of other ones didn't either I don't know of any other doctor in Knox County I know that the patients that I took on and did have doctors in Knox County but basically the doctors pushed them out when are you work on a refill for you anything else I can do for you today we need help you could come to work for us with this legislation there were humble apologies that the law was misunderstood that all these chronic pain patients didn't need to be tapered down after all and that in fact the doctors all they have to do is invoke the palliative medicine exception but despite that the doctors continue to look for any excuse to get rid of these patients and I think many of them used that regulation as sort of the last step in the process to shed them there's a culture that seems to have developed that any doctor who prescribes a controlled substance is a bad doctor and they don't want to be seen by their peers as someone who's like dispensing these things so any patient they have who asked for them the patient is then labeled as a drug addict not under my watch you know you're not going to get it for me one of those freak things you know just coming home from the grocery store I was gonna take my truck but to save on gas I took the car and thank God my kids weren't in there my better half wasn't in there 37 surgeries later still a lot and I know I'm a nurse pride themselves on being tough and I'm pretty tough and I still can't handle what I'm going through oh yeah tend to exclude myself a lot because it's just toxic sometimes to be around it you know they don't need to put up with that you know I can function when I have the right amount I can go to hall you know be a man and take care of my family I mean we begged and pleaded crying of the doctor begging her and now it's like no can't help ya any other things um I guess the pain okay what's the prognosis on that so it is still we're still not getting any word from the board that they're changing their view so I can't risk my license by going over on their dollar grants you don't think I qualify for the exemption yes or no if I am basing my my interpretation or my what I've got trained that palliative care is um life limiting end of life then now I've called 57 physicians in the state of Maine the nearest appointment that I found is December out of 57 I got dr. Mandela's number he was definitely sympathetic but he's retiring so he can't take on any new patients in my practice I treat about a hundred twenty patients about ten have chronic pain 100 of them have drug addiction when did you take your last yesterday no one wants to take care of anybody with addiction nobody wants to take care of anybody with chronic pain and so there's a lot of orphans out there they're treated like the lepers of our time we are that I'm working seven days a week but we need more help you know I can't do this alone I will retire and who will take care of the patients then you

Glenn Chapman

40 Comments

  1. I have chronic pain due to degenerative disk disease and bad knees and have been seeing pain management doctors for excellent treatments and medication since 1994, and the older I get, the worse my back and knees becomes with age. Back in those days, they were not under the gun by the DEA and CDC like it is now. I started noticing the changes after 2010 when it comes to doctors prescribing pain medications. One quit due to the harassment of the DEA and was fed up, and now my most current pain management doctor said he is quitting too for the same reason, even though they are not doing anything illegal. To the DEA, we are all bad people and need to watched. It is sad. I don't know what I will do if I can no longer get the treatments I have been getting all those years and was grateful for those treatments and pain medication that get me through each day. I always dreaded the day may come when I no longer can see a good pain management doctor. They are becoming fewer and fewer due to the governments harassment of them and new doctors don't want that hassle either, so they are not going into the pain management field. If anyone gets "Consumers Reports", they are on the anti-pain killer band wagon, and have been for years.. The June 2019 issue was on chronic pain and they recommend "Mindfulness" (whatever the heck that means), do yoga, get better sleep, or see a therapist". You gotta to be fricken kidding me! Get better sleep to help rid of the pain? Right, I am in agony and expect to get better sleep? Yoga? I can hardly bend my knees. And for "Mindfulness, right!I i got a "mindful" dealing with my pain! And therapists? They are absolutely useless for chronic pain sufferers. I saw a therapist before I was recommended to a pain management doctor by my first back doctor. Those "Therapists" are almost an insult with their recommendations in dealing with pain. "Go do what you enjoy to ignore the pain!" It is the "pain" that prevents me, and I am sure of other pain sufferers from "enjoying" things in live. Unreal.

  2. Why in the hell do they call chronic pain patients with proven medical histories of severe illness or injury DRUG ADDICTS? I always took my medications responsibly for more than 13 years, 5 major surgeries and constant medical care, which suddenly changed when my longtime neurosurgeon suddenly without notice retired in March 2018 leaving me without a treating doctor and no medications which I need to help me function and enjoy my family and friends. However, today I'm totally disabled by the Social Security Administration, because I cannot work anymore, I cannot be a husband or father or grandfather because my severe chronic pain controls my life what little I have left. I would gladly join an class action lawsuit against every government agency responsible for these restrictions which have essentially forced doctors like mine to retire and others to leave their practices because they fear losing their licenses. I've been dumped like an unwanted dog by my doctor and I cannot find another doctor willing to accept me as their patient because they refuse to write any pain medications. I thought they took an oath Not to Cause Any Harm? However, that's exactly what most of them are.doing particularly those who dump their entire patient load without notice leaving them to suffer dangerous withdraws and face additional medical problems many of which are life threatening. Sorry bunch of cowards!

  3. Chronic pain is from not addressed the pain when you have it then pain when there is no sighns. I'm isolated and without my meds I'm worthless. It is ok to be pain free with addiction or not. There are some of us had past addictions but I have no way had any plans to misuse any medication. I have pain to the point if the CDC has any idea that pain has to be addressed. Pain overdoses are very sad. This does not make it fair for the many of us k ow population increases of course there will be more people to break laws. However what did the chronic pain suffering rest of us who truly had a life taken. I feel like I am truly taking a slow painful cruel death. I am not only doing without and having a hard time. j am in a vegetable state. my life is going to be lost . Who is the voices for the silent people painfully unable to do what they did before and after the panic of pain meds communication is costing money. If the Dr does nothing I can only say the condition I have allows me only opiods. However my Dr is from the start not wanting to prescribe. if this is not one hurdle how can I say I am sure to be dead if there is not a change.A message is even making me hurt to where I am getting off. This law is very unfair..

  4. Palletive care said my rare disorder doesn't fit guidelines. However I get sent to a cancer Dr????

  5. That comment is definitely true. How the hell do you get close to continue a life in a pain which now you know I'm trying to legally get help. This is a mess because suicide was close to me many times.

  6. doctors in maine are chicken shit dirt bags ive seen more decisions directly made by doctors kill more people than opoids , drunk driving and tobacco combined . those of us in pain 24/7 are growing and we are beyond fed up with the governments bull shit ! lucemyra commercial at the end is a joke were still in pain so we are going to take something for it and its taking every last penny we have. all drs are doing is fueling the heroin and fetanyl market. you cant get a suboxone dr to treat pain you need mainecare if you work or make too much disability cause you had an actual career and became disabled your screwed. there is nothing but heroin to kill pain . the pain in my back is so bad id rather be dead a lot of days and eventually i will just kill myself because of governments ignorance and chicken shit doctors wanting me dead cause that is all i can believe they refuse to address something negatively effecting me to the point i want to die so they must want us dead.

  7. Pain medication has nothing to do with this epidemic I'm a drug addict have been for 23 years struggling off and on with this back when I first started using it was pain medicine but there were very few and far between doctor shoppers like me! Knowing every drug seeker wanted Percocet they found a way to pack 8 to 16 of them in a little pill Knowing damn well it could be crushed snorted and injected. Oxycontin after it came out doctors we're paid $1,000 to 5000 for every 100 prescriptions of it they wrote this is biological chemical warfare against us and out of a thousand people who get pain medicine for whatever I'd say probably only about 3 get hooked because of the addictive personality they have already I too suffer from chronic pain I am now in a methadone clinic and I thank God I know the system and knew I could go for my pain and addiction. It works really well for me but it's so not available for most people at this point it should be on the shelves it does not get you high and it's actually one of the preferred treatments for chronic pain using pain medicine as a patsy a Fall Guy so that people could get rich. The powers-that-be have claimed the poppy plant and now says who gets and who doesn't get medicine for pain yet all doctors, rich and famous people never have a problem getting anything they want their colleagues write it for them and their families they knew what they were doing when they made Oxycontin but I promise you this epidemic has nothing to do with pain medicine as you have been taught to believe!! Now people are being denied meds with conditions so excruciatingly painful not even being detoxed and causing people even little old ladies to go out and look for heroin where they find Good ol fentanyl which the government now brings that in and considering we took over the poppy fields in Afghanistan the government owns like what 80% of the world's opium now when we die we will suffer or go to the streets because pain is so no joke and it's also causing people to kill their selves out of an amazingly alarming rate because some types of physical pain without even anything to take the edge off would send anybody into that action. I am writing a book right now to try and totally blow the lid off this and at this time a recovering drug addict , witness firsthand exactly what it was like before and after they tried to depopulate us with Oxycontin knowingthat you cannot just quit this without horrendous physical withdrawal unlike cocaine ecspecialy crack which was the first drug they used on us to try this. Any country that has basically decriminalized all drugs seen drug use drop dramatically because and I know this first-hand we are more addicted to the lifestyle then the drug when it becomes legal it's like where's the fun in that, it sound crazy but it is true. I must keep researching and finish this book To shed light on what's really going on here in whatever you want to call this it's not a country though

  8. I would like Vice to make a full length doc about chronic pain sufferers that are denied pain medicine. My aunt recently committed suicide because her doc tapered her off pain meds knowing she had a permanent and severely painful condition. Her doc then started Cymbalta. 2 weeks later she was gone. She killed herself in her garage. It was so unlike her. Thanks opioid crisis.

  9. My pain doctor,of 6 yrs in WA state, AND my psychiatrist of almost 15 yrs in CA, BOTH dropped me without cause, 1 month apart just because it is hard to properly treat chronic pain patients, even when the Dr isn't treating your pain if you have a Dr managing pain scripts for you then all of a sudden that puts your other physician relationships at risk.

  10. I live in Texas, and it's the same here. Texas Board of Health took the ability away from General Practitioners to prescribe any pain prescription that is considered a narcotic. Everyone had to get seen by a pain management physician. They charge twice the amount, fewer in numbers, and are usually only located in large cities. What's worse than that is with everyone having to see pain management specifically, none of them are taking new patients. The closest pain management that will take new patients is a 2 hours, 4,hour round trip, drive. Most won't write refills. So, you have to do this every month, if you have the means to drive, and the ability to endure the 4 hour trip. The politicians aimed to take control of all the addicts, but made all the legitimate pain patients collateral damage in the process.

  11. That’s the problem with knee jerk legislation. Fixes nothing. Chronic pain patients should be overseen by pain specialists above their GP. That way GP’s can prescribe the medication patients need & it can be monitored. F’ing recreational drug users destroying lives of patients with legitimate chronic pain conditions

  12. Those politicians who come up with these laws would think differently if they suffered chronic pain. But then, they would have the "private" sources no one else would be allowed.

  13. The bottom line it's the government not the druggies who impose this on the chronically ill patients… drug addicts will be drug addicts they choose to abuse heroin Street fentanyl from China ninety-nine percent of their dying is because of those two drugs not the prescription drugs.. that's misinformation that they want to charge forward.n make people beliwve.it is a false epidemic. and people are falling for it -its not the prescribed drugs killing. And it's a small number that have died from prescription drugs and that's only because of them either committing suicide or drinking with them or taking street drugs with them. no one dies from taking the pill !!!! or else billions would be dead …the Earth would probably be depopulated..empty.
    but the fact remains it's still the government's fault for these mandates and new guidelines not the drug addicts and all it has done is started another epidemic of new heroin users as anybody can look it up heroin went on the rise after the guidelines went into place not down and hundreds of suicides have taken place if not thousands good going America we are regressing back to the caveman era why have any medicine at all

  14. This is what happens when politicians make rules for doctors. This is horrible. Trying to be good, sure, and I appreciate that but that word palliative is not acceptable or the correct description for the group of people who need these drugs.

  15. Why is it that people suffer needlessly? It has been a couple of years since Dr’s were compelled by threat to take their patients off of high dose opioid painkillers and yet the rate of new addicts has not slowed. What will these new junkies blame their addiction on now? The responsibility most certainly will not be placed at their feet where it belongs.

  16. The opioids are disappearing everywhere in the u.s they're wanting to surgically implanr pain pumps for chronic pain patients

  17. bro….if you need more than 100mg of an opiod a day then you are an addict, im sorry….I've had back surgery and tore my pectoral tendon and gotten surgery on it which was reattaching my tendon to my chest wall so needless to say I have had my share of serious injuries with serious life long pain that I deal with (without pain pills by the way) but 100mg of an opiod a day is more than enough for someone to deal with their pain especially when ou consider which type of opiod if your taking 100mg of qxycodone and its not working im sorry your tolerance is too high and your an addict and while hydrocodone is not a strong 100mg for the should be good too man that 10 10mg for the day cmon man. And listen I'm not somebody that doesn't know i've been there because of my injuries with the opiods trust me I've been down that road and realized this was not going to end up good. So, like I said if you getting to the poiint where 100mg of an opiate A DAY isn't doing it for you ….your problem isn't pain, it's addiction and dependency…and you need a different type of help.

  18. Why don't you show this viewpoint on your channel? All I see is from the drug abuse and addiction side. Where is a show with the reality that pain patients are facing? Lose of jobs, poor quality of life and increasing suicide rate is what we are facing because this country has no common sense or compassion anymore. I myself am considering suicide because I don't want to live bedridden and in constant pain.

  19. This kind of coverage is crucial and often overlooked. People need to know that the heroin "crisis" is all because doctors can't prescribe proper pain treatment.
    I was in a motorcycle accident with internal bleeding, bruised ribs, and 3 fractured vertebrae and the doctor gave me pills for 4 days and I could not get a refill. It was hard enough to get the prescription filled, I had to go to the VA just to get that filled.

  20. So this actually makes no sense.. It's like telling a chronic pain patient sorry, go do heroin in order to be pain free.. Ridiculous

  21. I was rear ended by a semi truck and I had 4 spinal surgeries. The PM dr cut my dose and I ended up bedridden for almost 3 years. I wanted to commit suicide- I had ZERO QUALITY OF LIFE. I went from functioning to being unable to even take a bath or shower except maybe every ten days. I used bathing wipes. It was so humiliating. I had to lay down in the car on a heated seat as my husband drove me. My muscles atrophied. The only thing that saved me was Kratom and CBD, but more so Kratom. It does not make you feel weird or high. The big pharma wants Kratom outlawed because they cannot make a drug out of a tree leaf. The pharmaceutical companies made sure that Kratom has a bad rap on Google. People would throw up before they could induce near enough to get any where near a buzz. I researched it extensively before taking it and found a reputable company. If they would just tell pain patients about it they could save lives. Most Drs do not care how badly a patient suffers, they do not want extra paperwork. They are in a business to make money! Only very few truly care. I hope Drs and people in the CDC have to suffer in pain for a year.

  22. Stop being afraid of your pain. Commune with it.
    Rejoice in it.
    Its part of the plan.
    Accept it.

  23. Capping at 100mg is so ignorant. Thats not how opiates work. I go to MMT and there are 4 foot tall 100 pound people that take 250mg and I am 6 foot 180 and take 90mg.. Dosage vary greatly compaired to other drugs.. You sure as hell dont usually see some people popping Ten xanax at a time after years on.

  24. Where are the government panels looking into the patients needs.

  25. Funny how I and those I lost to addiction didn't start out just getting high. We liked our weed and beer but that was it, then through sports, automobile accidents or work accidents, even genetics for some were all prescribed a liberal amount of opioids. I haven't done heroin in over 3 years and I have health problems and am disabled. Also have struggled with anxiety my entire life and no one around here will help me. I am screwed for life as far as proper treatment. I mean I am close to Cincinnati where you can get help but my insurance doesn't transfer state lines and I have had to pay $ money the times I needed help. That felt terrible, I mean why do you have to pay cash!! Their as bad as, no worse than the frickin streat dealers.

  26. Kidnap, torture, then give their maximum dose, then see their opinion. Worthless shitbag hypocrites

  27. It's crazy that legitimate people suffering from pain can not get the medication they need in order to just feel normal when I can take a 20 minute car ride to one of the largest open air drug markets in the country and get as many $5 bags of heroin as I can carry. It's just too easy for people to buy powerful drugs like heroin and fentanyl while legit pain patients have to suffer and jump through regulations and restrictions just to get the medicine they need.

  28. Yeah thanks to the asshole who thinks were all junkies im on disability for a reason my quality of life means nothing to the powers to be.i worked hard all my life,and now I'm paying for it.and they could care less that I'm suffering every day.its a damn shame.

  29. Maine has been struggling with this particular problem for over 20 years.
    Cutting pills out, like they have due to insane overzealous politicians….. There is so much to unpack that it's impossible, the first thing I would say, is that a good amount of these folks on off and around people taking or quote abusing these medications all blame the doctors and they did this for a long, long time!! And now they're Blown Away, that these doctors no longer want anything to do with them. They blamed them.
    The other part of it is, we had people taking heroin we had people taking extremely high doses of opiates and opioids.
    it became an issue everywhere probably. This was dope, and anybody that took it, was a junkie and this narrative has been pushed so far now, that the repercussions have come home to roost! It's sad, my mother was a chronic pain patient and she died in 2016, I'm glad she did…. as much as I miss her!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't imagine what her life would be like, after being on pain pills since 1991 that would be pretty amazing! Probably after watching my mother go through what she went through I couldn't understand why it was all a sudden a problem. Even after they had come up with Oxycontin,a different formulation of the same medication (oxycodone) that has been prescribed since the fifties, as far as I know. It's extremely frustrating, it's extremely sad. Opiates and opioids may not be the answer, but at the same time it's none of anybody else's business. again it's extremely f*** up because you have people that are chronic pain patients that never thought they were going to have their s*** taken away from, them. So they went after the "junkies" and the younger generation they felt were abusing, and quite frequently at one point purchasing their pills from them. And said well I'm not the same as those people. the fact of the matter is we're all the same especially in this particular context. Opiates, don't likely work for pain there really is no way to take care of chronic pain but they do help make you feel better, it's the reason they were abused and it's the reason they are used. People are more apt to do s*** that they would not have ever done when they're on it and that goes both ways. Again, this is an extremely frustrating topic not one that you can take lightly, or explain simply!!

  30. Most pain patients will kill themselves in the next couple years. This was all planned by the FDA, CDC, and DEA. Pain patient racism is socially acceptable, and people wonder why we're all committing suicide.

  31. They should make torcher Drs and make them feel a terrible amount of pain and when they complain about it say oh your over reacting. Because that's exactly how they feel and think. They have no clue how someone feels or how much pain someone is in. The government needs to mind their own fucking business. If people die from overdose then that's okay the world is over populated anyways. It's call natural selection.

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