Augusta, MAINE – According to a report by the Portland Press Herald today, Governor Paul LePage is blocking the implementation of rules approved by state regulators that would allow the life-saving anti-overdose drug Narcan to be distributed without a prescription. In the report, the Governor’s office declined to answer questions and explain why he was preventing the rule from moving forward.
In response, Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett called on the Republican gubernatorial candidates for Governor to urge Governor LePage to allow the rules to take effect:
“Let me be clear: Governor LePage’s actions are putting lives at risk. Our state is in the midst of a devastating opioid epidemic, and every day he prevents this rule from moving forward is one more day that someone who needs access to this life-saving drug doesn’t have it.
“If the Governor won’t listen to Maine people, if he won’t listen to emergency first responders and addiction treatment experts who support making Narcan more available, then maybe he will listen to the Republicans who have had his back for the past seven years. But the question is: will they do what is right and tell Governor LePage to allow access to this life-saving drug? Or do they believe, like he does, that Narcan simply ‘extends lives’ and support him slow-rolling it?
“The Maine Democratic Party calls on them to help Maine people fighting addiction by telling the Governor to move this rule forward immediately.”
BACKGROUND: Governor LePage has repeatedly stated his opposition to allowing Narcan to become more readily available to those who need it, vetoing legislation that would allow the live-saving to be sold without a prescription. In his veto message, LePage wrote, “Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose.” The State Legislature subsequently overrode the Governor’s veto.
The Governor then abruptly reversed his position on Narcan later, saying that he does believe it would save lives but that the drug is a “false security.”