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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Governor LePage vetoes Narcan bill against best practices evidence

Since when did somebody appoint Governor LePage as the director of who lives post drug overdoses? Obviously, the Governor's concern about Maine's opioid addiction epidemic doesn't include saving the lives of the hundreds of young people who could be saved from death, if Narcan were more accessible. Thank you Senator Angus King for caring about victims of overdose, and their families, by supporting greater availability. Unfortunately, Governor LePage doesn't even consider the municipal cost of responding to opioid related calls, because Narcan could reduce the volume of calls and, thereby, make EMS more available to help at other incidents.
Harmony Ambulance Vehicle
Access to over the counter Narcan can reduce municipal emergency transport  costs

If anybody suggests that political leadership "doesn't much matter', there couldn't be more evidence to disprove that misstatement than the leadership of Governor Paul LePage. In spite of best practises supported medical experts, Governor LePage has proclaimed himself the ultimate authority about the life saving intervention provided to victims of drug overdose with his veto pen- again!

AUGUSTA, Maine —Gov. Paul LePage of Maine has vetoed a bill that would have provided Mainers with the drug naloxone without a prescription. Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, can reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Many Maine police and fire departments carry the drug.

The governor vetoed the bill Wednesday.

“Naloxone does not truly save lives; (OMG!) it merely extends them until the next overdose,” LePage wrote in his letter to the Legislature. “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.”

Overdoses claimed the lives of more than 200 Mainers last year alone.

Health care professionals said the antidote is cheap, easy to administer and has no negative side effects.

Assistant Majority Leader Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, sponsored the bill.

“If we have the chance to save even one life, we must seize it,” Gideon said. “Putting this proven life-saving medication into more hands will save lives and spare families the unthinkable loss of a loved one to a preventable overdose.”

Police could be allowed to use overdose-stopping drug
Hopefully the Maine Legislature will override the Governor's ill informed veto
NARCAN (naloxone) is indicated for the complete or partial reversal of opioid depression, including respiratory depression, induced by natural and synthetic opioids, including propoxyphene, methadone and certain mixed agonist-antagonist analgesics: nalbuphine, pentazocine, butorphanol, and cyclazocine. NARCAN (naloxone) is also indicated for diagnosis of suspected or known acute opioid overdosage.

In fact, the Maine Legislature will reconvene next week to take up any bill the governor vetoed. Hoping the Governor's veto will, like dozens of previous ones, be over-ridden.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, wrote a letter to CVS earlier this year, asking the company to make the drug available over the counter in Maine, as it has done in 16 other states.
A helpful on line resource for Narcan use to prevent overdose morbidity, and mortality and to prevent further incidents is at the link here.

Illinois has information posted on a Good Samaritan Overdose law posted here.

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