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Maine Governor Paul LePage would prefer that heroin addicts die sooner rather than later.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

The Maine legislature passed a bill that would allow pharmacists to dispense an anti-overdose drug Naloxone without a prescription. This seems like a commonsense measure, since Maine is suffering from a heroin overdose crisis and the drug is available in many other states without a prescription. But LePage, notorious for his punitive right-wing politics, vetoed the bill, arguing, “Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose.”

While LePage claims to favor other preventive measures like anti-drug education, the harshness of his response make clear that he’s okay with addicts suffering an early death. After all, if you acknowledge that Naloxone “extends” lives (as LePage does), then making the drug harder to access will cut some lives short. As state Senator Cathy Breen rightly notes, “With this insensitive statement, Gov. LePage is insinuating that Mainers suffering from addiction are beyond reach—that they cannot be saved.”