Sen. Breen urges override of LePage's Naloxone veto

Posted: April 21, 2016 | Health and Human Services, Senator Breen

Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, is urging her colleagues in the Legislature to override Gov. LePage’s veto of LD 1547, “An Act To Provide Access to Affordable Naloxone Hydrochloride for First Responders.”

Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth.

Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth.

Naloxone Hydrochloride, also known by its brand name, Narcan, is a life-saving drug that can stop an opioid overdose in its tracks. The bill expands access to Narcan by permitting pharmacists to provide it without a prescription to eligible individuals, including addicts’ family members and friends, who can respond to  an opiate overdose more quickly than emergency responders. That faster response time can be the difference between life and death.

In his veto letter, Gov. LePage wrote that “Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose.”

“With this insensitive statement, Gov. LePage is insinuating that Mainers suffering from addiction are beyond reach — that they cannot be saved,” said Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, the lead Senate sponsor of LD 1547. “I disagree. Narcan can be the difference between an early grave and an intervention that can put an addict on the path to recovery. We know that Narcan saves lives. It is incumbent on us to make sure it is readily available.”

According to the Attorney General, 272 people died in Maine as the result of overdosing in 2015. That’s a 31 percent jump over the previous year.

Lawmakers will vote on whether to override Gov. LePage’s veto on Friday, April 29.