An open letter to Bill Maher


Dear Bill,

I normally would not grace comments such as yours with a response because I consider most random comments like these from folks without platforms as bottom feeders. People who feel the need to denigrate a whole population because of their ignorance.  

Your quote via Twitter regarding the SuperBowl ad for a medication to help opioid induced constipation so beautifully states: (your words verbatim, not mine)

Really Bill? REALLY?

Have you ever spent time with patients on long term opioids?  Have you walked in their shoes and truly understood what it takes for them to function as somewhat normal human beings on a daily basis? I have.

I live that shit every day.

I invite you to contact me personally. Or any of us! You can speak to my friends, family, boss, coworkers and clients.  I will sign off on you conducting references on me for all of those categories.  Hell.  You can even contact my doctor.  Or accompany on my next appointment to understand what us ‘junkies’ deal with on a day to day basis. Please, no really PLEASE.  I’d love to for you to in person attend a doctors appointment with me.  I’ll waive all that HIPAA shit so that you can see, hear and feel where all the swollen joints are.  Look at X-rays.  Maybe see a real time ultrasound to see first hand the joint damage that I deal with daily.  Hear from me in a completely candid setting what hurts, where it hurts, how often it hurts.  And then hear from my doctor what we have to do to make things feel better.

Pretty sure with that alone, you’d understand the need that chronic pain patients have for long opioid  use.

But to really drive things home, I invite you to spend a day or two at work with me.  Shadow me.  I’m not sure if you could keep up.   I won’t elaborate on my specific position on my blog but suffice it to say, I am damn productive and I am damn successful.  I bust my ass.  You NEED me working.  I am very good at what I do.  And I am functional because of the medication that I am on. How dare you suggest that, as population and by calling us ‘junkies,’ we are none of those things.  How dare you.  I work harder than many I know as do many other patients I know for two reasons: we need to prove to ourselves that we can and we must remain employed to maintain insurance.

How dare you.  In that one stupid tweet of yours, you try to invalidate and mock all of the literal blood, sweat and tears this ‘junkie’ has invested to be successful.

Sure, there is a minority of folks that abuse the medications we take.  But it is just that: a minority.The majority of us are doing the best we can with the hand we’ve been dealt and the resources we have.

Calling us all ‘junkies’ is irresponsible and highly offensive. I’ll even go so far to ignore the crassness of your statement.  It is offensive but also uninformed.  

Don’t be a pussy, Bill.  Reach out to us and correct your uninformed views. Correct your ignorance.  

The ‘Junkie’ who is anything but

10 responses »

  1. Well said and let’s not forget this is coming from the mouth (Mr. Maher) of whom I was a one time fan until he started going of the rails last year with too much racist cr*p.

    He, himself is a self proclaimed recreational drug user. In the “era” he grew up in I highly doubt it was ever just “Cannibus” he used as he so proudly proclaims on national television every chance he gets. Oh I’m sure he has a medical card for it these days but is the man really sick or does he make up some story to buy his pot?

    Yeah I know those of us suffering with invisible illnesses shouldn’t ever point fingers but I’ve yet to meet anyone who has a debilitating invisible incurable illness who is so ignorant of the actual pain others suffer. Or who has zero empathy.

    He was probably sitting around watching the Super Bowl getting high when he posted what he did. Without a thought to the very real consequences a celebrity saying something like that has. He has no right to call himself a journalist of any sort. Especially not at the expense of people who could end up dead for lack of treatment. No the pain itself might not kill but the strokes, heart attacks and suicides are very real.

  2. I’ve been so used to hear these haughty fools who know not what real pain is all about.Everyday I have the sensation of acid being injected in my finger joints,and of the trepidation of knowing that familiar sharp pain which no doubt will be accompanied by a sharp owww which will emanate from my vocal cords and my knees when I stand.I cannot get anything stronger than Tylenol because of foolish statement such as this.My severe RA has in 3 years twisted my hands so severely I cannot make a fist or flatten my hand.There are days I cannot get dressed on my own.Now my feet are becoming bent.The pain that accompanies this I cannot describe,but will tell that my hands and feet are extremely painful with even slight pressure.Bill Mayer should be ashamed.While some are very productive some of us USED to be very productive and cannot anymore.I think the real definition of hell is having a desire but no way to fulfill it.My mind still wants to make jewelry( used to be a goldsmith) my hands can’t.My mind still wants to plant fruit trees and vegetables( had a wonderful garden ever year )my body won’t .My mind simply wants to bake bread or pet my sweet lil cat.( I struggle to do either but cannot).When I’m in pain so bad my Dr. Writes me opiates but is so scared of repercussions, its few and far between.I do understand.Even though I’m not an addict he is thwarted in prescribing what is needed by comments such as bill maher.Thank you for standing up and saying NO!

  3. This coming from a man who says on national tv that he uses marijuana recreationally and has for years. Somehow it’s ok for him to “play” with drugs but not for people with legitimate pain to be treated and treated with dignity. I don’t know of any pain patient who gets “high” from their treatment. We are lucky if it takes the edge off.

    I used to say I would never wish my disease pain (RA untreated or diagnosed for 5 years so it landed me in the hospital for surgeries multiple times before diagnosis” but I’m beginning to wonder if it would make them understand how wrong they are.

    I’m so tired if all the lies the government agencies are progegating. Most of the deaths in the last couple years have been from street drugs not legally prescribed medicines and they know it. Going after doctors more and patients is just going to make this problem worse. Watch the suicide rates go up. I’m begining to wonder if that’s what they want since we cost so much to treat?

    • You bring up a great point. I’ve always said I would never wish this pain on anyone but maybe that is what needs to happen… I will admit to, not recently, using marijuana during a debilitating flare in 2010. It didn’t necessarily reduce my pain but what it did do was reduce my anxiety and made it so that I could actually eat and sleep, which helped me battle it. I sure as heck wasn’t trying to get high, just survive. I also don’t have a read on their agenda. I hope that they don’t wish that- sure, I’m expensive to treat but professionally, I’m damn productive. We need a solution!

    • I’ve never ever done a street drug…and that’s an option for me…but I’ve had a taste of what uncontrolled RA feels like which makes me not judge. I feel like we need tort reform and patent law reform. Let’s recognize that the practice of medicine is not the perfect of medicine, especially with these diseases. Let’s make these drugs available as generics. Sure, the pharma companies don’t want that but I bet it would stimulate R &D which is also needed.

  4. So very, very well said, Amanda. Thank you for speaking up and speaking out against such malicious ignorance. I generally like Bill Maher, but this was a jaw-dropper. Shame on him.

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