Pill mill law woes for pain patients

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It's designed to crack down on prescription drug abuse. But some doctors say the new law, referred to as House Bill 1, is hurting patients who actually need prescription pain medicine.

The new law requires Kentucky doctors to use a prescription drug monitoring system that can spot addicts seeking pain killers.

She has been in pain for long enough and says HB1, which became law in July, is just causing her more.

"I just want the right medication to where I can function and work and live day to day," said Jill Horn-Mahler, a pain patient living in Lexington. "There's been times I've prayed, and I've said, 'God, just take me. I'm not going to do anything to myself but just take me in my sleep.'"

Horn-Mahler is not the only patient at Comprehensive Spine Specialists under Advanced Care Centers who has to jump through hoops just to get the pain medication she needs after an extensive back surgery.

"We have people here begging, 'I don't want to lose my job. Please help me. I need something.' We have mechanics, auto workers, and people who have worked in the coal mines," said Samantha Daugherty, an administrator with Advanced Care Centers.

Meant to crack down on pill mills, physicians agree the law has done just that, but they say it has also hurt others along the way.

Some physicians say this law is taking the decisions of patient care out of the doctor's office and putting it in the hands of legislatures.

"Before House Bill 1, with proper monitoring, we could make a decision when the patient first came for their visit on how the patient wanted to be treated with their doctor. And these days you just can't," said Daugherty.

Dr. Debora Tallio, M.D. at Comprehensive Spine Specialists, says some her patients have told her that they have questioned living life, left without a way to manage their pain.

According to the State Journal, the prescription drug requirements might be scaled back.

Changes to the current regulations have been proposed and would take effect in January if approved.