STATEWIDE (WGME) — On average one person dies a day from a drug overdose in Maine, according to Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.
And 2016 is set to be another record year for drug related deaths.
“It’s not a reflection of someone being poor or unemployed or uneducated. The opioid addiction problem crosses all strata of our demographics in Maine and all regions,” Attorney General Mills said.
In April, lawmakers drafted a bill that would allow pharmacists to give naloxone, also known as Narcan, to patients without a subscription.
“They have to go to the pharmacist. The pharmacist will have protocols set up with physicians and then the pharmacist will be able to dispense the medication to someone. The pharmacist has to make that choice though,” Sarah Gideon (D), Speaker of the House, said.
The bill was vetoed by Governor Paul LePage after he said, “Naloxone does not truly save lives… It merely extends them to the next overdose.”
Lawmakers eventually overrode the veto.
The Republican governor was very outspoken in 2016 about the heroin crisis.
“Everybody in Maine, we have constitutional carry. Load up and get rid of the drug dealers. Because folks, they’re killing our kids,” Governor LePage said.
LePage was especially outspoken about how drugs are making their way into Maine
“These are guys by the name of D-Money, Smoothy, Shifty, these types of guys. They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here and sell their heroin and then they go back home. Half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave,” LePage said.