Maine city proposes legislation to charge overdose victims for naloxone costs

The city of Augusta, Maine, introduced legislation that would allow police and other first responders to send opioid overdose victims a bill for the cost of administering the anti-overdose drug naloxone, reports Maine Public.

Naloxone, which can cost more than $100 for one dose, has been on the market since 1971. In the past few years, prices for some versions of the drug have increased up to 17-fold. The price increases have caused some emergency response departments to run out and not restore supply of the antidote, while many public health groups must rely on donations to buy the drug, according to a May 2016 Politico report.

"We don't want to deter law enforcement agencies from carrying this, or being trained to carry this, all of which has a very steep cost," Rep. Trey Stewart, R-Presque Isle, told Maine Public. "At the same time, we want to make sure the taxpayers' interests are represented in this issue."

Many individuals in the medical community oppose the legislation, arguing it would hinder the state's efforts to manage the opioid epidemic.

"It punishes people for having a substance use disorder and continues the stigmatization of that illness and by doing so, interferes with the efforts we as a state are making to prevent drug abuse," Peter Michaud, member of the Maine Medical Association, told Maine Public.

More articles on opioids:

Concurrent use of opioids and anti-anxiety medications significantly increases risk of overdose
Ohio launches $3.5M program to help children of opioid addicts
Deadly opioids stolen from Alaska clinic

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