Maine has seen a slight decrease in the number of drug deaths in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same time last year, according to a new report released by the attorney general’s office. But overdose deaths are still high, and the report finds that the primary driver continues to be the synthetic opioid fentanyl.
One hundred eighty people in Maine died from a drug overdose through June this year, down slightly from 185 last year. Most of the deaths — more than 60 percent — continue to be caused by fentanyl, a powerful opioid that’s often mixed with heroin.
Deaths from pharmaceutical opioids are on a downward trend. But deaths due to crack and cocaine are on the rise. In the first half of last year, they accounted for 16 percent of deaths. That rose to 25 percent in the first half of this year.
The report, which was compiled by the University of Maine, found that the average age of people who’ve died from drug deaths this year is 42.