Augusta, MAINE – In case you missed it, the Bangor Daily News today revealed that Republican Governor Paul LePage and his Administration have found yet another way to block improved access to the life-saving, anti-overdose medication naloxone.
According to the report, LePage’s Department of Health and Human Services – including then-head of DHHS turned Republican gubernatorial candidate Mary Mayhew – has failed to draft rules that would allow public health organizations to dispense naloxone, despite the State Legislature having passed a law calling for it more than two and a half years ago. In the story, both DHHS and candidate Mayhew did not respond to requests for comment.
Maine Democractic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett issued the following statement in response:
“Governor LePage’s senseless opposition to naloxone is reaching new lows. His ideological intransigence is not only directly defying the will of the State Legislature, but it is also denying the people of Maine a life-saving medication at a time when one person a day is dying from a drug overdose.
“Simply put, the governor is wrong and always has been wrong when it comes to naloxone – and Maine people are needlessly paying the price for his ignorance. Former DHHS Commissioner Mayhew should answer for her role in preventing this medication from becoming more widely available and Republican State House leaders Ken Fredette, Mike Thibodeau, and Garrett Mason should stand up to call for this process to move forward, just as they have done in the past.”
The report by the Bangor Daily News follows initial inaction by Governor LePage on a set of different rules that would allow naloxone to be sold over the counter.
However, following a push by Chairman Bartlett, House Speaker Sara Gideon, Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson, and other Democratic lawmakers, Maine Board of Pharmacy Chairman Joe Bruno – who has donated thousands of dollars to Governor LePage’s campaigns and Shawn Moody’s campaign – advanced the rules after giving in to LePage’s totally unfounded concern about the age component of the law.
Governor LePage is virtually alone in his opposition to more widely distributing naloxone. Only Shawn Moody, one of five Republican gubernatorial candidates, has not spoken in support of the life-saving medication while Ken Fredette, Mary Mayhew, Mike Thibodeau, and Garrett Mason all have. Moody’s campaign is managed by the Governor’s daughter. Joe Bruno also serves as the Treasurer of Moody’s campaign.