The world and the United States are currently experiencing a increase of opiate overdoses that, in some parts of the US, has reached epic proportions. Take the state of Maine where in 2015 drug overdose deaths increased by 31%, most of them due to heroine. Recognizing the need to save lives, the state legislature, urged by their US Senator Angus King (I-ME), passed legislation (L.D. 1547) that made the antidote to opiates, Naloxone hydrochloride (also known by its brand name Narcan), available without a prescription. Narcan is inexpensive, safe and easy to administer via a nasal spray or injection. It works in about five minutes, lasting long enough to get the patient to the hospital. Great news but for one glitch, Maine’s evil, Tea Party governor Paul LePage who promptly vetoed the bill issuing this statement:
“Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose.”
On Friday night MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow ripped into the governor:
“Think about that for a second,” Maddow explained. “He’s saying that if you overdose you should not be kept alive if there’s an option to keep you alive. Because you are probably just going to overdose again.”
“You know what? If you think about it further, I guess we all are going to die someday. So you could really say that about any medical treatment. I mean, why treat your infection with penicillin or antibiotics? All it’s going to do is extend your life until it ends anyway,” she said sarcastically. “You have a treatable form of cancer? Why should the state of Maine abide you getting any treatment for it? Why extend your life when it’s just going to end anyway?”
The bill passes with bipartisan support. Recall that Maine’s House is controlled by the Democrats and the Senate by the Republicans. They meet this week to consider overriding some of the bills vetoed by the governor. Hopefully, this bill will be one of them whether Lepage likes it or not.