opiod addiction

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

Maine Gov. Janet Mills Wednesday convened the first meeting of her administration’s new Prevention and Recovery Cabinet, calling for a broad, coordinated response to the state’s drug crisis. The panel is considering public health problems that go beyond opioid addiction.

Andy Mooers / Flickr

A federal judge in Maine has ordered the Aroostook County Jail to provide a Madawaska woman her prescribed medication for substance use disorder while she serves a 40-day sentence.

Elise Amendola / AP Photo

Later this month, a Caribou man who has been diagnosed with an opioid use disorder will report to the Maine State Prison to serve a nine-month sentence.

Rural Americans are profoundly worried about the opioid crisis and their local economies and many are hoping government can help, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Until recently, the most that Mid Coast Hospital could do for patients showing up in the ER with opioid use disorder was to hand them a phone number to call for long-term help. But last fall, the hospital started something new in Maine and around the country — it started giving patients a dose of Suboxone, medication used to treat opioid addiction, and connecting them to other services.

The Maine Legislature moved closer Thursday to approving $6.6 million bill to fight a deadly opioid crisis that claimed the lives over 400 Mainers last year. Both the House and Senate have given initial approval to the bill that would direct treatment funding to those without insurance.


The LePage administration last year announced a plan to devote almost $5 million in state and federal money to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, especially for people who don't have health insurance. The "Opioid Health Home" program was supposed to be a big step forward in comprehensively dealing with the opioid crisis.

The opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars since 2001, according to a new study, and may exceed another $500 billion over the next three years.

With one person dying of an overdose every day in the state, the Maine Legislature’s Opioid Task Force is sorting through scores of program suggestions as they work to set priorities for the January legislative session. But some task force members say they still don’t know what services are available to help those who need it.

Gov. Paul LePage is proposing sweeping legislation that would, among other things, place strict new limits on the maximum dose of opioids that could be prescribed by a doctor in any single day.

The bill takes a much more restrictive approach than another proposal that’s before the Legislature.

With Maine’s drug crisis continuing to claim lives, LePage has introduced a measure aimed at limiting the amount of prescription drugs being prescribed and forcing prescribers to take part in the state’s prescription monitoring program.


Experts discuss the challenges they face helping those with an opiate addiction.

Guests: Patricia A. Kimball, LADC,CCS, Executive Director, Wellspring, Inc, 98 Cumberland Street, Bangor

Dr. Mary Dowd, Medical Director for Milestone Foundation, Portland's only residential detox with 16 bed. She also works at Catholic Charities doing Suboxone treatment. She started out working in Cumberland County Jail which is how she got interested in treating addicts.

Michael Sauschuck, Portland Chief of Police

How to recognize and treat opiate addiction.  We'll hear from individuals who've struggled with addiction... a nurse who's worked with patients in methadone treatment... and the medical director of Community Substance Abuse Centers who is also the author of a medical-mystery novel that addresses drug addiction and treats it as a chronic illness. 

Guests:  Michelle Morin, RN - Merrimack River Medical Services - opiate addiction treatment center.

According to the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain affects about 100 million U.S. adults - more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined.  Opioids are a commonly-prescribed treatment, but addiction and abuse of these narcotics is skyrocketing.  A new pilot program in Maine aims to help primary care practices better help their patients manage chronic pain and safely prescribe opioids in what some call the "wild west of chronic disease."  Patty Wight reports.