- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine lawmakers on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would expand access to a potentially life-saving anti-overdose drug, sending the measure to Gov. Paul LePage, who’s expected to allow it to go into law without his signature.

The bill unanimously passed in both chambers, which are controlled by Democrats, would allow family members of addicts to be prescribed naloxone, also known as Narcan. The measure also would let police and firefighters administer the drug.

The bill has sparked debate between lawmakers and LePage over who should have access to the drug.

LePage last year opposed measures to expand access to naloxone, arguing that it could provide a false sense of security that abusers are somehow safe if they have an antidote nearby.

He recently said he would support expanding access to relatives of addicts, but would veto the bill because it also included access to law enforcement members. His office said some law enforcement officials had raised concerns about liability issues.

But lawmakers amended the bill on Wednesday to ensure that law enforcement members are trained before they can administer the drug, which addresses some of the governor’s concerns, LePage spokesperson Adrienne Bennett said.

Bennett said the governor will now likely allow the bill to go into law without his signature.

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