© 2021 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Business and Economy

'Opium' Owners Defend Bar's Name After Online Backlash

PORTLAND, Maine - The name of a new Portland bar, Opium, strikes a wrong note as Maine battles a heroin epidemic.
Co-owner Raymond Brunyanszki is defending the decision on the bar's name, saying it references a 1920s Shanghai opium den.
Some commenting online accuse the bar's owners of exploiting Maine's opioid epidemic on the Opium Facebook page.
More than 350 people have died from opioid overdoses in the state last year.
In a Facebook post, bar representatives say they do not promote drug use or addiction. It says the owners are happy the bar's name is leading to conversations about drug addiction.
Brunyanszki says other bars named Opium have opened in cities around the world.
Opium is being renovated for a reopening June 14.