Maine lawmakers override LePage’s callousness on drug policy

 Paul LePage Gov. Paul LePage speaks to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at the State House in Augusta, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty/ap
Gov. Paul LePage speaks to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at the State House in Augusta, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty/ap

Even those who’ve come to expect the worst from Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) were taken aback two weeks ago when he vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have allowed pharmacists to dispense an effective anti-overdose drug without a prescription. Making matters slightly worse was the Republican governor’s explanation.

“Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” LePage said in a written statement. As we discussed at the time, the governor, in a rather literal sense, made the case that those struggling with opioid addiction don’t have lives worth saving.

Experts from the health care and law enforcement communities hoped state lawmakers would override LePage’s veto. Late last week, the Portland Press Herald reported that the legislature did exactly that.

Maine lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Friday to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto and allow pharmacists to dispense the drug overdose antidote naloxone without a prescription…. The House voted 132-14 and the Senate voted 29-5 to override LePage.
 
 Also known by the brand name Narcan, naloxone works to quickly counteract the potentially deadly symptoms of an overdose from heroin or other opiates.

It’s worth noting for context that the Maine Senate has a Republican majority and the state House has a Democratic majority, though in this case, that didn’t make much of a difference.

As for the underlying policy, if anyone needs a refresher, Naloxone – sometimes known by its brand name, Narcan – is a safe and effective life-saving treatment that counteracts overdoses. The point is not to cure someone of an addiction, but rather, to prevent them from dying.

The treatment is inexpensive; it’s easy to administer; and it’s harmless to others. Common sense suggests it should be readily available, especially in areas where the addiction crisis is especially acute.

LePage, however, said he’s principally concerned with not “perpetuating the cycle of addiction.” If that means more of his constituents will overdose and die, so be it.

The Portland Press Herald reported two weeks ago that the state legislation was actually recommended by CVS, which received a letter from Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), himself a former governor, “asking the chain to expand the availability of the antidote. The bill got support from both law enforcement and health organizations during the legislative hearing.”

And now the policy will be state law, no thanks to Maine’s Tea Party governor.

source: msnbc

Maine native featured on European music website

A Maine native, Ray Pasnen from Medway, features prominently on a new entertainment website in Germany.  The new site, MusikerFinden.com, is designed exclusively for musicians looking for work or those who seek to give them work all around Europe.

Ray Pasnen plays at Besitos in Rheine, Germany.
Ray Pasnen plays at Besitos in Rheine, Germany.

The site seeks to put the customer directly in touch with the musician – freely for both – to make it easy to hire entertainment for any function (wedding, bar, corporate parties, etc.).

Pasnen, who has been playing and/or living in Germany for 20 years says, “The service is great.  I have found myself in some very different locations from using the site.  One night can be in a small Greek Tavern drinking Ouzo under buzzing fluorescent lights and the next night in a large nightclub sipping Champagne under a million dollar light-show.  I am able to speak directly to the client; whether it be a club owner, private individual having a birthday party or a couple planning their wedding, the ad section on the site is invaluable to musicians or those seeking musicians.”

“I have just returned from a weekend performance at a Resort in Czech Republic and have gigs this weekend in Muenster, Petershagen and Minden.  It would be pretty hard to get these great jobs without Musiker Finden.”

Ray, who played a hand in developing the site, plans to return to Maine in August to perform a couple of private functions.  He says, “I have a friend whose parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.   I am playing for them and the following weekend a couple of friends get married and I am playing for them.  🙂 And… maybe again for them in 50 years. ”

“I hope to see my family and friends in those two weeks while I am home!”

Pasnen also has a job in Bermuda this year (pending work permit).  He plans to play at Bermuda Bistro at The Beach on Front Street in Hamilton, Bermuda in June and July.

 

 

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