Maine’s Gov. LePage Vetoes Bill Giving Increased Access to Lifesaving Narcan
Maine Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill Thursday aimed at providing over-the-counter access to the overdose antidote drug naloxone, arguing that it “serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.”
The Maine Legislature quickly passed the legislation in an effort to curb the opioid epidemic ravaging the state. While family members of opioid addicts can legally obtain prescriptions for the lifesaving drug in Maine, the bill would go one step further, allowing pharmacists and community health professionals to dispense naloxone hydrochloride—better known by its brand name Narcan—while “acting in good faith and with reasonable care.”
The bill, L.D. 1547, also allowed for police and fire departments to amass a supply of Narcan.
“Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” LePage, a Republican, wrote in his veto letter, according to the Portland Press-Herald. “Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.”
Instead, LePage said the state must target the “root causes” of opioid abuse, such as drug traffickers for other states bringing heroin over the border.
“These are guys by the name D-Money, Smoothy, Shifty. These type of guys that come from Connecticut and New York. They come up here and sell heroin, then they go back home,” said LePage, who has endorsed Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, at a town hall in January. “Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we’ve got another issue we have to deal with down the road.”