Wrong choice on Narcan

Drug addicts are famous for making bad choices, but we expect our policy-makers to be rational.

Gov. LePage let us down again this week by repeating his opposition to the distribution of Narcan, an opioid overdose antidote, on the grounds that making the life-saving medication available would make drug use more attractive. “It’s an excuse to stay addicted,” the governor claimed in a news conference, once again giving Maine the kind of national attention it doesn’t need. “Let’s deal with the treatment, the proper treatment, and not saying ‘go overdose, and if you do I’ll be there to save you.’”

If the governor is saying that there should be more resources for treatment and prevention, he is correct. But if he thinks that saving an addict’s life during an overdose encourages drug use, he is way, way off. That would be like saying fire trucks encourage smoking in bed.

Gov. LePage should stop moralizing and make the right choice here: If you can save a life, that’s what you should do.

Collins, King right on torture report

Maine is the only state that is trusted with two members of the 15-member Senate Intelligence Committee. The nation’s trust was rewarded this week when both Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, voted to release part of a classified report on the post-9/11 use of torture in the fight against terrorism.

The 6,000-page report was commissioned to inform the committee, but it was considered classified and its findings could not be publicly discussed. Collins and King’s announcement of support was followed by a full committee vote to declassify a 480-page executive summary of the report.

The two Maine senators issued a joint statement:

“We remain strongly opposed to the use of torture, believing that it is fundamentally contrary to American values. (The report’s) findings lead us to conclude that some detainees were subjected to techniques that constituted torture. This inhumane and brutal treatment never should have occurred.”

The senators are right. The only thing worse than letting this happen would be failing to learn from it.

USM needs city’s voice

City leaders called a news conference Wednesday to say … well, we’re still not sure.

Mayor Michael Brennan, flanked by Chris Hall from the Chamber of Commerce and Preble Street’s Executive Director Mark Swann, expressed support for the embattled University of Southern Maine, which is facing a 10 percent budget cut and layoffs in response to declining enrollments.

Brennan and the others talked about how important USM is to the community, but took no stand for or against the cuts that have roiled members of the faculty and student body.

Wading into the controversy without taking a position on this issue was not helpful. The community’s voice has been missing from this debate.

We hope this isn’t the last time civic leaders and the business community speak up about the future of this important institution. All of Greater Portland has a stake in what goes on at USM’s three campuses, and it should have a voice in the kinds of restructuring going on there.

Dogfish on the menu? Not yet

When you are trying to sell seafood, you have to work harder when it’s “spiny dogfish” on the plate.

But it’s a job worth taking on, because unlike other fish stocks in the Gulf of Maine, the sea is teeming with dogfish; the only thing missing is a market.

Americans have never had much of a taste for it, but there used to be an active export business because it was served in England as fish and chips. With other sources now available over there, Americans will have to develop a taste for the creatures despite their unappetizing name. Convincing them of that won’t be easy, but they can do better than this assessment from James Armstrong, who heads the dogfish management plan for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

“It’s all right. It’s not great,” he said. “I can see why kids aren’t running after the dogfish truck in the neighborhood.”

That might not be the best slogan, but it’s our quote of the week.