In the first six months of 2016, drug-related deaths in Maine hit a high of 193. That number is down slightly to 185 for the same period this year, but Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says the state isn’t doing enough to address the drug crisis.
Mills says, given the more widespread use of the anti-overdose drug naloxone, increased efforts to get addicts into treatment and the general increased awareness of the drug crisis, she had hoped the number of drug deaths would go down significantly this year. They haven’t, and that means more must be done.
“Greater public attention on the issue. Obviously, we are not doing enough, the state of Maine is not doing nearly enough to save these lives,” she says. “We were hoping to see a decrease because of the prevalence of naloxone and because of some increase in treatment beds and referrals from police departments.”
Mills says about 4 of 5 drug deaths are caused by an overdose of two or more drugs like heroin and fentanyl. She says the state needs more treatment facilities and prevention efforts. Otherwise, she says Maine is on track to witness at least one drug death per day in 2017.