State considers charging drug abusers for heroin overdose antidote

Naloxone (WGME)

AUGUSTA, Maine (WGME) -- Opioid users who overdose may have to pay for the antidote. It's part of a new bill up for consideration in the Maine State House.

A representative for the Maine Municipal Association spoke out against the new bill in a public hearing.

He says towns are overwhelmingly against Gov. Paul LePage’s plan to have repeat recipients of Naloxone pay for it with it up to municipalities to recover the costs.

Naloxone, often sold under the brand name of Narcan, is a drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid high.

Each dose costs about $38 with most local departments footing the bill.

Under the new bill, if someone is given Naloxone more than once, they'd have to pay for it, but it would be up to the municipalities to recover those costs, if not, they'd be charged a $1,000 fine.

In Monday’s public hearing, an advocate for Maine’s Municipal Association says the plan would place too much of a burden on communities.

LePage's Senior Policy Adviser David Sworenson testified in favor of the bill. He says as long towns prove they made a reasonable effort to collect payment they wouldn't be fined.

The bill will now move to a work session this Wednesday before moving onto the full Legislature.

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