A quick look at news of interest in central Maine …
THUMBS DOWN to Gov. Paul LePage for his continued reluctance to put a life-saving drug into the hands of the people most in a position to use it.
Naloxone can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose if administered in time. It has been used widely and successfully in states experiencing a rise in overdose deaths, and a bill under consideration in the Legislature would allow it to be carried by police and EMTs as well as family members of people suffering from opiate addiction.
LePage has long opposed naloxone, saying it allows opiate users to take risks and gives them an excuse to stay on drugs. The governor’s opposition to naloxone, which has been embraced by health officials and law enforcement across the country, was the subject of an NBC Nightly News segment last week.
So it was a good sign that LePage slightly softened his view this week, saying he would back a compromise that would give naloxone to family members of opiate addicts, as long as it were prescribed and the family member trained.
But that still would keep naxolone away from the police and EMTs most likely to reach a person suffering from an overdose in time to save them.
Naloxone is a simple, effective medication that has saved lives everywhere it has been used. Police and EMTs are trained personnel capable of carrying and administering naloxone.
An amendment offered by Republicans in the Health and Human Services Committee recognizes those two facts. It would allow emergency personnel, but not family members of opiate users, to carry naloxone.
Eventually, naloxone should be as widely distributed as the bill originally called for. If a compromise is needed to pass it now, and start saving lives, however, that compromise should start with emergency personnel.
THUMBS UP to Peter Garrett, who announced this week that he is stepping down as president of Kennebec Messalonskee Trails, almost 20 years after he made building a trail system a focus of his Rotary Club presidency.
Garrett, 69, of Winslow, helped put a team together back then to site the trail, and a few years later they were off and building.
The success of this effort — from idea to a $4 million, 40-mile trail system through five communities in under two decades — shows what a persistent, dedicated group of residents can do with a vision and a lot of hard work.
THUMBS UP to the Norridgewock Public Library, which is starting its second year with a program that provides flower and vegetable seeds to growers at no cost.
In the Check Out Seeds program, residents check out seeds along with information about how to grow the plant and how to collect its seeds. The grower then brings new seeds produced back to the library to replace the original seeds. The library offers more than 40 varieties.
Fifteen people used the program last year, and the library is hoping to attract more this year. It sounds like a great way for area growers to try out new seeds, or for people new to backyard farming to give it a shot.