When the 128th Legislature adjourned its second session last week, it didn’t only add another chapter to the story of LePage-era obstructionism — it put in peril the hopes of the body finally addressing the state’s top public health crisis.

With the gavel struck and the next steps unclear, left unfinished was work on a series of bills aimed at the opioid epidemic, some of which were left over from the first session, during which the 128th’s response to this raging problem was similarly underwhelming.

The bills in question were passed by the House and Senate but remain unfunded, and now the end-of-session theatrics by House Republicans raise the risk that legislators will leave for the summer without acting on them.

In the face of so much death and so many destroyed lives, the Legislature can’t let that happen.

Left among the bills with an uncertain future is L.D. 1430, from Republican Rep. Karen Vachon of Scarborough, which would establish a “hub-and-spoke” treatment model in Maine. Such a model has been successful in Vermont steering people dealing with addiction to the right resources and course of care.

Other bills address substance abuse in jails, increased penalties for fentanyl trafficking, and expanded drug courts.

Those four are part of package of bills the Democrats are suggesting to fund as part of a compromise with Republicans.

Of course, the most impactful move the state could make is to implement Medicaid expansion in order to pay for treatment for poor childless adults. That is part of the Democrats’ spending proposal, though Gov. Paul LePage’s refusal to follow the law on that matter may make any Medicaid funding a moot point.

Other bills, such as one that would start a pilot project for homeless Mainers facing addiction and another that attempts to steer people with addiction out of the criminal justice system, appear to have no hope of moving forward.

Together, these bills represent the kind of holistic approach to the crisis that should gain bipartisan support. Many of them come directly out of the work of a legislative task force that in December 2017 issued a report, echoing many of the same recommendations of an earlier panel.

And that’s what’s so frustrating. For the legislators willing to put politics and ideology aside, the way forward has always been clear. Making sure treatment is available when and where it is needed has always been the key to taking the wind out of the opioid epidemic, yet Maine has made little progress. Years into the crisis, availability still does not match the demand, and officials have done little but bite around the edges.

We’ve blamed the half-hearted response before on the outdated view that addiction is a personal failure. Held by Gov. Paul LePage and some legislators, it is certainly a factor, as too many people believe that the best treatments — Suboxone and methadone — are merely crutches.

But there is something more going on here. Some of the bills passed easily with bipartisan support, and taken individually most would likely be funded.

That’s how House Republicans wanted to handle them, in order to gain leverage over Democrats. Their aim was to scuttle Medicaid expansion and change the state’s minimum-wage law, two recently passed citizen’s initiatives that should not be altered.

Now, the bills are caught up in the squabble, unlucky victims of late-session political machinations.

Whatever the outcome of that battle, the 128th Legislature has lacked the collective will to act on one of the big problems facing our state. That is an immense failure. Lawmakers will have one more change to address it when they return to handle the governor’s vetoes. They should take it.

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