Thank goodness members of the Legislature had the collective good sense to overturn the governor’s veto of L.D. 1547, the bill that outlines protocols to expand access to Narcan — a life-saving overdose medication—- for first-responders and at licensed pharmacies. Passage of the bill was important to people in Fairfield and central Maine because of the number of families in our communities who fight opiate addiction. Regulated availability of Narcan will prevent deaths, an outcome of overdose that happens too often. The Maine attorney general’s office reports that 272 Maine people died from drug overdoses in 2015.

I am disappointed, therefore, in Sen. Scott Cyrway’s vote against the bill when most of his Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle voted to support the bill by overturning the veto. Law enforcement officials, medical providers, and Maine folks in recovery all supported L.D. 1547. In fact, at the public hearing for L.D. 1547, the Maine Chiefs of Police Association testified in strong support of the bill and clearly rejected the idea that overdose medication like Narcan somehow encourages deeply addicted people to die by overdose. Even with that testimony, Cyrway voted against the bill. The Fairfield-area senator also voted against a similar bill in 2015.

Opiate addiction is real and is plaguing families and our communities. Maine needs a balanced approach to address the problem of opiate addiction. People who die from overdose cannot turn their lives around. Cyrway cast a vote against second chances with his L.D. 1547 vote.

Karen Kusiak


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