In the first three quarters of 2018, 282 people in Maine died from drug overdoses, a slight decrease from the number who fatally overdosed in the first three quarters of the previous year.
That's according to a new report from the Maine Attorney General's Office. But Attorney General Aaron Frey says the opioid epidemic is still a public health crisis that requires urgent action.
The vast majority of the overdose deaths in the first three quarters of 2018 were accidental, Frey says, and the primary driver of fatalities was fentanyl, a powerful opioid.
But overdose deaths involving other drugs is on the rise - specifically, methamphetamines and cocaine - which is increasingly mixed with fentanyl and heroin.
Frey says his office will work with Gov. Janet Mills, the Legislature, and relevant agencies to implement solutions to the crisis. Earlier this week, Mills signed an executive order that directs $1.6 million in state and federal funds to help connect people to treatment and expand access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.