Gov. LePage’s delay of L.D. 1547, which allows pharmacies to sell the opioid overdose antidote naloxone without a prescription, is both undemocratic and immoral.

LePage has an autocratic habit of trying to block legislation he happens to disagree with. Working with conservative Republican legislators, he is trying to block voter-approved Medicaid expansion. When it comes to L.D. 1547, however, even most Republicans think he’s gone too far. The Legislature overturned LePage’s veto, and an amended bill to clarify program rules passed unanimously in the Senate and by an overwhelming 126-20 margin in the House.

In August, the Maine Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously to approve the rules. Now they sit on LePage’s desk awaiting his signature, a process that typically takes less than 60 days. When asked during a recent interview why he had not yet signed off on the program, LePage played dumb, saying, “I don’t know, I don’t know a thing about it.”

Previously LePage made it clear he thinks drug addicts are undeserving of lifesaving assistance, stating: “Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.” Yet LePage recently underwent lifesaving bariatric surgery, apparently because he could not on his own control his weight and overcome obesity.

To delay implementation of a program that will save lives and give people with addiction another chance is heartless and immoral as well as hypocritical. There will come a time in all of our lives when grit and willpower won’t be enough, or past decisions or actions will come back to haunt us. Policy should be made with that truth in mind.

Lisa Morris