U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is calling for greater access to naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. According to Holder, the medication has saved more than 10,000 lives since 2001.

LD 1686, “An Act to Address Preventable Deaths from Drug Overdose,” sponsored by Rep. Sara Gideon, would make it more likely that someone’s overdose can be stopped before it is too late.

Right now, only paramedics and advanced EMTs can carry and dispense naloxone. LD 1686 allows that medication to be used by all first-responders and permit others, such as family members or pharmacists, to have access under certain conditions.

This is important to me because I believe that greater access to naloxone might have saved my son’s life.

No one would guess that my son used heroin. He was 21 years old and in his third year as a molecular genetics major at the University of Vermont. He graduated from Carrabassett Valley Academy, where he was an alpine ski racer. While at CVA he was offered a presidential scholarship to attend UVM. And yet in March 2009, his roommates found him unresponsive, but still warm, because of a lethal dose of heroin.

There is nothing I wouldn’t give to have had naloxone nearby at the time.

LD 1686 will save Maine lives. I fully support it.

Henry Gates, Skowhegan

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