Target: Maine Governor Paul LePage
Goal: Stop blocking attempts to make anti-overdose drug available to people addicted to heroin.
People suffering from addiction to opiates won’t be allowed easy access to a drug that stops overdose thanks to a veto of a bill by the Governor of Maine. The bill would have let pharmacists dispense the medication naloxone, which works by blocking opiate receptors in the brain, making drugs like heroin instantly ineffective. It’s used by emergency medical technicians to save the lives of people who have overdosed on drugs.
Governor LePage justified his veto by saying that allowing people suffering from addiction, which is a mental illness, access to drugs that stop overdose, it would allow them to overdose whenever they want. “Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction,” he wrote in the veto letter.
What LePage doesn’t understand is how naloxone works. The medication blocks all opiates from working at all, instantly producing severe withdrawal symptoms, which are extremely unpleasant. Nobody would use naloxone lightly.
More importantly, addicted persons don’t deserve a death sentence for having an addiction. The threat of overdose does not deter people from taking drugs, it just kills them. Sign our petition to denounce Governor LePage for vetoing this life-saving bill and demand he approves any like it in the future.
Dear Governor LePage,
I understand that you recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed pharmacists to dispense naloxone, a life-saving drug that stops the effects of opiate overdose. You apparently think that this would perpetuate addiction by letting people addicted to heroin to run around with “a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other.”
What you don’t seem to understand is that naloxone blocks opiate receptors in the brain, producing instant, intense withdrawal symptoms in a person addicted to heroin. Therefore, addicted persons who had access to naloxone would still have a serious incentive not to have to use it.
The threat of overdose clearly does not deter addicted people from using drugs like heroin. This is because drug addiction is a mental illness. Addicted persons need to be treated, not condemned to death for something they can’t control. If you care anything for people who are suffering from addiction, you’ll apologize for vetoing this bill that could have saved lives and pledged to approve any others like it that come along.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jordi Bernabeu Farrús