AUGUSTA – The ACLU of Maine will be in Augusta today to urge the Health and Human Services Committee to pass LD 1686, "An Act To Address Preventable Deaths from Drug Overdose." The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sara Gideon of Freeport, will increase access to naloxone, which can be used to prevent death in the case of an opiate overdose.

LD 1686 will protect persons who prescribe, possess or administer naloxone from being prosecuted for doing so. It will also ensure that naloxone is available to those who need it most, by allowing the people best positioned to assist in an opioid-related drug overdose to possess naloxone; authorizing administration of naloxone by emergency personnel; and allowing safe, third-party distribution of naloxone. 

The following can be attributed to Grainne Dunne, justice organizer for the ACLU of Maine:

“Simply put, LD 1686 will save lives. There is no denying that Maine is facing a crisis of rising drug abuse, and increased access to naloxone for those most at risk of overdose will ensure that fewer lives are lost in this tragic manner. Further, not only does naloxone save lives, but naloxone programs been shown to reduce opiate abuse over time and lead to increased enrollment in drug treatment programs.

“People should not fear prosecution for saving a life, and this bill ensures that those administering naloxone during an overdose aren’t subject to penalties for doing so. There is absolutely no good reason not to pass this vital bill.”

The hearing on LD 1686 is todayFebruary 12 at 9:00 in the Health and Human Services Committee.