Drug overdose deaths in Maine increased in 2019 by 7% over the previous year. That's according to figures in a new report the Maine Attorney General's Office released Friday.
In a statement, Attorney General Aaron Frey says Maine recorded 380 drug overdose deaths last year, 84% of which involved at least one opioid, and most of which involved other drugs, such as cocaine. The office also says the increase in deaths was driven by non-pharmaceutical drugs such as fentanyl.
“The data in this report confirms how significant this crisis remains," Frey says.
Deaths occurred in each county. The highest number were in Cumberland, York and Penobscot counties.
In 2018, Maine recorded 354 drug overdose deaths. While that number increased in 2019, Frey says it's still below the peak of 417 deaths that occurred in 2017. But he says the report highlights the need to continue to fight Maine's opioid epidemic aggressively, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I strongly support the ongoing efforts of my office, Gov. Mills’s administration, legislators, and communities across Maine to help get us to the other side of this," Frey says.