Maine Painkiller Bill Faces Opposition

A Maine bill to manage painkiller prescriptions went before the legislature's Health and Human Services Committee on Monday, but faces opposition, according to a Bangor Daily News report.

The bill, LD 1501, is sponsored by Rep. Jon Hinck (D-Portland) and modeled after a Washington state law. The bill would require patients receiving the highest doses of pain medications and those medically predisposed to addiction to consult with a pain management specialist. Under the bill, certain patients taking painkiller treatments would also have to provide urine samples to deter abuse and pharmacies would be required to check photo IDs when dispensing opioid-based painkillers. In addition, physicians, dentists and other healthcare providers who write prescriptions for pain medicines would need an increasing amount of continuing education to remain licensed. 

Opponents to the bill have noted that the bill has not been tested, limits physicians' flexibility to meet individual patients' needs and includes many practices that physicians already perform. The opposition has also suggested the number of pain management specialists available in Maine may be inadequate to meet the bill's provisions; some estimate only 15 physicians in Maine are qualified as pain management specialists.

According to a federal study, admissions to drug treatment programs for painkiller addiction in Maine were eight times the national average. Maine also has the biggest painkiller addiction problem compared to other states, based on per capita.

Read the Bangor Daily News report on the bill to manage painkiller prescriptions.

Related Articles on Pain Management:

85% of Washington Residents Say They or Loved Ones Are Experiencing Pain

Ohio Prioritizes Reducing Painkiller Abuse

Maryland Revokes License of Pain Management Specialist Dinesh Shah

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