AUGUSTA – A bill that will reduce preventable overdose deaths in Maine by making the life-saving drug naloxone more readily available passed into law at 12:01 a.m. after the governor did not sign it or veto it yesterday. The final law, LD 1686, makes naloxone available to first responders, law enforcement and family members of those most in danger of an opiate overdose. It was sponsored by Rep. Sara Gideon of Freeport.

The ACLU of Maine joined a broad coalition including medical professionals, recovery specialists, and the attorney general’s office in calling for passage of the bill.

The following can be attributed to Oamshri Amarasingham, policy counsel for the ACLU of Maine:

“We are thrilled that the Maine was able to put politics aside for the sake of saving lives. With this law in place, fewer people will die of preventable overdoses. This is a huge step toward treating Maine’s rising drug abuse problem as a public health problem, rather than as a strictly law enforcement problem that can be arrested away.”