ASHP Urges Maine Legislators to Override of Veto of Naloxone Bill
Note: This letter was sent to the six highest ranking members of Maine’s legislature.
April 28, 2016
The Honorable Mark W. Eves
Speaker of the House
Room 303, State House
2 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0002
Dear Speaker Eves:
On behalf of ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists), I am writing to urge you to help override Governor Paul LePage's veto of LD 1547: An Act to Provide Access to Affordable Naloxone Hydrochloride for First Responders. This legislation, passed earlier this year by the legislature, would increase public access to naloxone, the medication used to reverse adverse effects of opioids, including heroin. This bill would save the lives of Maine residents and give them the chance to seek treatment for their addiction. Further, nearly every other state in the nation has enacted legislation to increase the availability of naloxone.
ASHP is the national professional organization whose more than 43,000 members include pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists who provide patient care services in hospitals, health systems, and ambulatory clinics. For over 70 years, ASHP has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety.
Pharmacists are on the front lines of patient care. As medication specialists, they are the health professionals solely dedicated to helping patients make the best use of their medicines. By allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone, you can ensure that this lifesaving medication is more readily available to help prevent deaths due to opioid overdoses and allow people to get the treatment they need. Further, many overdoses are unintentional and not the result of illicit drug use. For example, naloxone could help save the life of a child who has accidentally overdosed on pain medication.
It is for the reasons mentioned above that we strongly urge you to take the steps necessary to override Governor LePage's veto and ensure that the bill you helped pass is enacted and implemented. Allowing this veto to stand will result in overdose deaths that could have been prevented.
Joseph M. Hill
Director, Government Relations Division