It’s hard to think of an issue that had more bipartisan support heading into the first session of the 128th Legislature than the fight against opiate addiction. Yet with the session all but over, it’s clear that nothing of real substance is going to get done. Meanwhile, the epidemic is killing more than one Mainer a day, and only growing more fierce.

That, unfortunately, is in keeping with how Maine has handled the opiate scourge for five years, made all the more frustrating by just how clear the evidence is by now that not enough is being done — we’ve had record overdose deaths every year since 2013, with 376 last year, a nearly 40 percent increase over 2015.

Those numbers should have been shocking enough to make opiate addiction a priority heading in to the legislative session. However, of the approximately 30 bills submitted on the subject, only a few got any traction at all, and no initiatives matching the magnitude of the problem were passed.

That lack of scope and imagination has been a problem since opiates began killing Mainers at a record pace. Legislators who saw the clear need for more treatment options have run up against those who, with the backing of Gov. Paul LePage, have favored punishment for people suffering from addiction, and who have fought against proven medical remedies.

In the latest session, Rep. Karen Vachon, R-Scarborough, proposed $6.6 million in each of the next two years to expand treatment availability, as well as the creation of a “hub-and-spoke” treatment model that has been successful in Vermont in shepherding people toward the right kind of care.

But both those proposals were carried over to the next session, and won’t be approved until 2018 at the earliest, if at all.

Even a seemingly common-sense bill to reverse cuts to the MaineCare reimbursement rate for outpatient treatment — cuts that have severely effected the availability of treatment — failed to find enough support. Republican Sen. David Woodsome’s bill will likely die for lack of funding; despite all the talk, there is simply not enough will to spend money on addiction.

While the Legislature has been unable to find consensus around this public health crisis, LePage has been feckless and stubborn. There was a ray of hope when his administration backed an additional $5.4 million for medication-assisted treatment. That was a good start for a state so far behind in that area, but LePage now says it is more than enough, all evidence to the contrary.

Since then, he’s stood in the way of almost any progress.

His Department of Health and Human Services testified against many of the addiction-related bills as “unnecessary.” He continues to argue that anyone who wants treatment can find it, even though every expert in the field says otherwise.

And his administration has reacted achingly slow to laws to offer the overdose-reversing drug naloxone over the counter at pharmacies and to create community-based recovery centers.

He even refused to participate or even share information with a legislative task force, showing how committed he is to his own strategy, one that has only resulted in more death and suffering from addiction.

But the Legislature doesn’t have to follow his lead. Instead, they should listen to Rosanna Boyce, a 31-year-old Maine resident who became addicted to heroin at 18 but has now been sober for 10 years, and who knows the treatment community intimately: “This crisis is getting worse, not better. And what we’re doing isn’t working.”

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