A series of recent articles have spotlighted the state of Maine’s opioid epidemic.
This week, a team of researchers at the University of Maine Medical School published a study on the state’s opioid overdose epidemic and its potential role in the rise of the deadly fentanyl.
The report, titled “Policies for reducing the spread of opioid overdoses in Maine,” suggests that the state has the right approach to addressing the problem and calls for action that will make the country safer for Maineers.
The opioid crisis in Maine has become a national concern, with overdoses among people of color, young people and women increasing dramatically in the past decade.
The Maine Journal reported last week that overdose deaths have more than doubled since 2014, while drug use and abuse have skyrocketed.
As a result, the state is experiencing a surge in overdose deaths of its own.
Last month, Gov.
Paul LePage signed a new law to close Maine’s only pharmacy, which opened in February.
That action followed a public health emergency in February when nearly 1,000 people died of fentanyl-related overdoses.
It also follows the deaths of eight people in Maine who overdosed after buying fentanyl in China.
The crisis has also caused a significant uptick in hospitalizations, with the majority of those involved in drug-related deaths being in Maine.
The Journal noted that the crisis is a reflection of the state-wide opioid epidemic that began in 2015, and that the rate of drug-overdose deaths in Maine, which has a population of roughly 1.4 million, has more than quadrupled since 2014.
In the state, nearly 100 people die every day of opioid-related poisoning, according to the Maine Medical Society.
“The Maine epidemic is a national health issue, and we can’t continue to ignore it or downplay it,” Dr. Jeffrey Zuckerman, a professor at the Medical School and an author of the report, said in a statement.
“We have a responsibility to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help prevent these tragic outcomes.”
The authors of the study recommend that the federal government provide a $10 million grant to help local governments address the opioid crisis, which they say is a “necessary first step to reducing the harm and death caused by the opioid epidemic.”
The funding would also be used to build on the research being done by the U-M Medical School.
The paper, titled, “Preliminary National Survey of the Overdose Crisis in Maine: Trends and Recommendations for Action,” was released Thursday and comes as the U.S. Congress debates the opioid bill.