Senate votes to override Lepage Veto of Chipman naloxone bill
AUGUSTA—The Maine Senate voted unanimously 32-0 to override Gov. LePage’s veto of legislation from Sen. Ben Chipman, D-Portland, to increase the long-term availability of the life-saving, anti-overdose drug naloxone on Wednesday.
LD 565, “An Act to Address Maine’s Opiate Addiction Crisis,” removes a “sunset” provision included in previous legislation regarding the ability of pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription.
“Enough is enough – More Mainers are dying every day from the opioid epidemic and it would be irresponsible for the Legislature to limit access to this life-saving drug,” said Sen. Chipman. “The governor just doesn’t get it but I am glad my colleagues on both sides of the aisle could come together and support this bill. Maine residents deserve to have the tools they need to save the lives of their loved ones struggling with addiction.”
Naloxone is an anti-overdose drug that can reverse or reduce harmful effects of an overdose. In 2016, the Legislature passed a bill that would to temporarily allow pharmacists to prescribe naloxone over-the-counter to individuals suffering from addiction and concerned friends and family. Sen. Chipman’s bill makes this change permanent.
In 2017, there were 418 drug-overdose deaths in Maine, an 11 percent increase from the previous year. Of these drug-overdose deaths, one in four occurred in Cumberland County.
LD 565 received unanimous support in the Health and Human Services Committee as well as the House and Senate on enactment. It will now head to the House of Representatives for an override vote.