For decades, Gaetan Bourgoin visited one specialist after another in hopes of easing the crippling pain of a 1989 paper mill injury.
World-renowned clinics from Minnesota to Florida to Connecticut prescribed heavy narcotics like fentanyl, oxycodone and morphine to help the 29-year-old machine operator at Fraser Papers in Madawaska recover from a back injury. But over the years, the burning pain and spasms in his lower back and legs only got worse, leaving him unable to work, hooked on painkillers and on the brink of suicide.
In 2012, at his doctor’s suggestion, Bourgoin turned to medical marijuana as a last resort. He’d never smoked tobacco, much less marijuana. To his surprise, he found some relief. He still has pain, but now it’s bearable. The pot distracts and relaxes him. He will never return to his old job, but now, after a few tokes on a vaporizer, Bourgoin can watch TV, go to the store and sleep through the night, all without narcotics.
“This was something that I hadn’t tried,” he said. “And it worked. And I was so happy. I