Augusta, MAINE -- Maine Democratic Party (MDP) Chairman Phil Bartlett issued the following statement today after Joe Bruno, the Chair of the Maine Board of Pharmacy, unilaterally changed the long-overdue naloxone rule to restrict access for anyone between the ages of 18-20: 

“Joe Bruno’s unilateral change of the rules was nothing more than a face-saving measure meant to protect the Governor, whose opposition to naloxone has always been ill-founded if not outright absurd. Unfortunately, this last-minute, unnecessary change will only result in the restriction of this life-saving medication when the entire point of the law was to improve access.

“Given that the Governor’s objections to this rule have no basis in science, fact, or even reality, it is clear that Joe Bruno is once again just carrying the Governor’s water and putting his allegiance to LePage and Shawn Moody ahead of the interests of Mainers who need and deserve access to naloxone.

“While these rules move forward – and I believe that they should move forward as soon as possible – it is my hope that lawmakers will ensure that all adults have the ability to purchase this life-saving medication.”

During today’s meeting of the Maine Board of Pharmacy, Chairman Joe Bruno – who has donated thousands of dollars to Governor LePage’s campaigns and Shawn Moody’s campaign – said that he changed the rule to address Governor LePage’s totally unfounded concern about the age component. Bruno and LePage have held up the approval of the rules for more than five months while Mainers continue to die at a rate of one person a day from drug overdoses.

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.

The renewed consideration by the Board today only came only after a push by Chairman BartlettHouse Speaker Sara Gideon, Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson, and other Democratic lawmakers.