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Drug overdose deaths in Maine declined by 16% in 2023

Maine saw a 16% decline in overdose deaths last year, according to preliminary state data.

Last year, 607 people in Maine died from a drug overdose, compared with 723 the year before.

The powerful opioid fentanyl was the most frequent cause of death. It was nearly always found in combination with other drugs, including xylazine, a drug typically used to sedate large mammals.

According to the data, in fatal cases where EMS responded, only 13% of people were alive long enough to be transported to a hospital, but died on the way or in the emergency room.

The report says that's likely due to the high number of cases involving fentanyl, as well as to people who use alone.