Maine Gov. Paul LePage Looks Set To Reject Overdose Prevention For No …

February 12th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) appears set to oppose a bill increasing access to a lifesaving anti-overdose medication because of concerns rejected by public health experts that it could encourage more drug abuse, according to the bill’s chief sponsor.

Fatal heroin overdoses in Maine quadrupled from 2011 to 2012. Naloxone is a drug that can reverse overdoses from heroin and other opioids like morphine. State Rep. Sara Gideon (D) is sponsoring legislation that would place the drug, which is sold under the trade name Narcan, in the hands of police, firefighters, at-risk users and their families.

Gideon said that ahead of a scheduled Wednesday hearing, the governor’s chief health policy adviser, Holly Lusk, told her LePage would oppose the bill in its entirety.

“His main objection is his belief — and I have to emphasize ‘his belief’ because there is no evidence that supports this at all — his belief that increasing the availability of Narcan or naloxone will lead the drug user or drug abuser to have this feeling of invincibility,” Gideon said.

LePage spokesman Peter Steele told HuffPost that the governor’s office does not comment on bills before they reach his desk. But opposition to naloxone access would be in line with his veto last year of a similar bill meant to provide legal immunity for health professionals administering naloxone to those suffering from an overdose. LePage also vetoed a

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