Our Letter to the Senators of Maine – Overturn LePage’s Veto of the Naloxone Legislation

Below is the letter we sent to the senators of Maine urging them to overturn the veto by Governor LePage of the Naloxone Bill L.D. 1547 that would have allowed pharmacists to dispense Naloxone without a prescription in addition to expanding access to Naloxone by Fire Departments and Police Officers.

In Governor LePage’s veto he states that Naloxone “serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction” clearly indicating that his preference would be to allow them to die. He also stated in his official veto that “Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose.”

Apparently Governor LePage has never met anyone in recovery. We have. We believe in recovery and we know recovery is only impossible for those who are not living.

Here is our letter:

Dear Senator,

We are a national organization working to raise awareness, reduce stigma, create and implement programs and advocate for policy changes to have a profound impact on the opioid crisis.

That’s a very long way to say, each and every day we are comforting mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and the CHILDREN of people who are overdosing and dying.

Each and every day we are working to support those in recovery.

Each and every day we are scrambling to find ways to save the lives of those addicted.

Each and every day we are working to convince people who are addicted that their lives matter.

Between their addiction which tells them otherwise, a society that stigmatizes their existence, a criminal justice system which criminalizes their disease and state and national policies that do not demand the required medical attention as any other illness, it is hard to find ways to convince them that their lives DO matter.

The current system in the United States is leaving our children to die. People with a life-threatening, debilitating and deadly disease that can kill them in an instant if left untreated are being turned away from treatment within hours of a near death experience due to lack of treatment availability, the greed of insurance companies, reluctance of medical providers to take responsibility and lax laws protecting people who are addicted.

How does this go on? Stigma. Our nation seems to believe these lives are not worth saving. Perhaps words come out of politicians mouths declaring differently, but what do the actions show? The actions show, laws can be changed next year, treatment can be available some day and it doesn’t matter that we are losing over 130 lives each day – we’ll keep losing them while we figure this all out.

Then along comes Governor LePage who does not feign words, does not pretend he cares; he flat out, blatantly says, “these lives are not worth saving.”

This seems ghastly to so many. This seems like an outrage. It would seem to many, this can’t be real, WHO would think this way? WHO would say such a thing.

Those of us on the front lines say, “Welcome to our world.” Between the actions and inaction of state and federal governments and the comments we see on news articles daily – and the fact that our children are literally dying; Governor LePage simply said out loud the stigma we and those addicted are faced with every day. The message in our nation today is loud and clear – you don’t think our children’s lives and you don’t think the lives of those of us addicted are worth saving.

And then people wonder why so few can pull themselves into recovery when this is the message they are given.

We need you to stand up and SHOW us this is not true. We beg you today to send a different message.

What Governor LePage has done is outrageous and the last thing we need is yet another message out there to add to the impression that addicts lives don’t matter.

We know they do.

The grief over losing my son matters.

The grief of the mothers and fathers of over 250,000 lives lost since 2010 matters.

The many volunteers who work for our organization who are living in recovery and have their lives back – their lives matter. For several of them, Naloxone IS what gave them that second change.

The 23 million plus people living in recovery in the United States matter.

And the lives of over 20 million people still struggling with addiction in the United States today – MATTER.

Please send a clear message that you believe this to be true. Please override the veto of LD1574.

We will be watching the vote so we can let Mainers and all of the United States know which of you believe our children’s lives are worth saving.

Thank you sincerely,
The entire team at Truth Pharm

Please join us in compelling the senators to overturn the veto.  Please send letters ASAP. They vote 4/29/16

If you don’t wish to write your own letter, here is a sample letter developed by “Young People in Recovery” that you can send:

***LD1574 Veto Override Email Template***
Please share
Dear Sen. ________,
I am writing to implore you override the vetoing of LD1547, “An Act To Provide Access to Affordable Naloxone Hydrochloride for First Responders”.

There is no evidence to support the claim that Naloxone increases drug use, and studies show the exact opposite. Having access to Naloxone saves lives and increases the potential for a transition in to treatment, whereupon people frequently find recovery and sustained abstinence.

It is imperative to allow for this life saving opioid reversal medication to be made available to those that need it. With the rural nature of the Sate of Maine, often the first on the scene to a person that is experiencing an overdose, and the person that will administer the Naloxone, is a family member or friend. Empowering them with tools to assist in the reversal and transition into recovery, is paramount.

We have the opportunity to join the rest of New England, and dozens of other states across the U.S., in increasing the potential for someone to enter recovery, heal with their family and friends, and rebuild their lives in the community. For those in charge of the safety and wellbeing of the public, this can and should be a priority.

As a person in recovery, a voter, and community member, I thank you for your attention to this important issue and again urge you to override the veto of LD1547.

Sincerely,

(your name)

Go to this page: http://legisweb1.mainelegislature.org/…/senator-i…/senators/

At the top of the page, there is an excel file you can download that has all of the senators’ email addresses in it. You can even copy them all at once and paste them into the “To” field of your email.

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