LePage admits he was wrong about Deering High School student overdose

Gov. Paul LePage, R-Maine. BDN file photo by Ashley Conti.

Gov. Paul LePage, R-Maine. BDN file photo by Ashley Conti.

Gov. Paul LePage said Wednesday that he now understands that a heroin overdose by a high school student happened at Deering Oaks park in Portland, not Deering High School.

LePage has told a story during at least two of his previous town hall meetings and at least one statewide radio appearance about a Deering High School student overdosing at school and being revived with overdose-reversing Narcan — and in at least one occasion returning to class afterwards. School officials immediately denied that it had ever happened but as recently as an MPBN radio appearance on Monday, LePage was standing by his story.

“It was not fabricated,” said LePage. “This was an actual conversation.”

LePage even suggested that he would ask U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate Maine public schools to determine whether they are being “transparent” about drug overdoses in schools. It’s unclear whether LePage has followed through with that.

Later on Monday, Portland Police Chief Mike Sauschuck added his voice to those who say the incident never happened — at least not at Deering High School, and that the governor must have misunderstood a conversation he had last year with a Deering High school resource officer.

Both Sauschuck and Nancy Dube, the Maine Department of Education’s statewide school nurse consultant, said they have never heard of a heroin overdose happening in a Maine school.

According to BDN reporter Nick McCrea, who was at LePage’s town hall Wednesday evening in Bangor, the governor acknowledged that he misunderstood the story.

If there was a misunderstanding, said LePage, it was “between him [the school resource officer] and me.”

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.