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Health

Maine Drug Overdose Deaths Continue to Set Records

In 2016 the number of drug overdose deaths in Maine increased by 39 percent to a record high estimate of 378, pending final toxicology tests. That’s now more than one a day.

Attorney General Janet Mills says the state needs to do more to address the drug epidemic that continues to set records.

“More treatment, more public education. Continuing interdiction and arrests and reducing the flow of prescription drugs in our communities,” she says.

Mills says she’s frustrated that the drug crisis is continuing to set record overdose deaths. She says lawmakers funded a ten-bed detox facility in the Bangor area a year ago that has yet to open and could have helped prevent some deaths.

“We gotta get people into treatment. It’s astonishing to me that a year ago the Legislature authorized and funded ten, only ten, new treatment beds in the Bangor area and yet, a year later that hasn’t happened,” she says.

Mills says opioids remain the biggest cause of overdoses, often as a lethal cocktail of several drugs.