Drug overdose deaths in Maine continue to surge - First nine months of 2016 exceed all of last year

 AG Janet T. Mills

286 Drug overdose deaths through the end of September fueled largely by an
increase in deaths due to fentanyl

AUGUSTA – Attorney General Janet T. Mills has released statistics on drug overdose deaths through the first nine months of 2016. With 286 deaths through the end of September, overdose deaths have already exceeded the total number for all of 2015 when there were 272 drug overdose deaths in Maine.

This dramatic increase is mainly due to illicitly manufactured (non-pharmaceutical) fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, although the number of deaths due to other drugs is also increasing.

“One person a day is dying from a drug overdose in Maine,” said Attorney General Mills. “I cannot stress how dangerous these drugs are. My Office is working with law enforcement around the state to stop the trafficking of these drugs in Maine. As we work to stem the supply we must also decrease the demand for these drugs. Maine must expand access to detox beds and long-term treatment so that people in the grips of addiction can find hope and live productive lives. With a new legislature convening soon, we need an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to combat this epidemic in a smart, nonpartisan and comprehensive way.”

Of the 286 3RD quarter, year-to-date total: • 195 (68%) are due to at least one illicitly manufactured drug (includes heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or non-pharmaceutical fentanyl), alone or in combination with other drugs or alcohol • 182 (64%) are due to illicitly manufactured opioid drugs (includes heroin/morphine, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl and its analogues, U-47700, and kratom), alone or in combination with other drugs or alcohol • 176 (62%) are due to at least one pharmaceutical drug (includes a wide variety of drugs available by prescription or over the counter), alone or in combination with other drugs or alcohol • 95 (33%) are due to at least one pharmaceutical opioid drug (e.g., methadone, oxycodone), alone or in combination with other drugs or alcohol. • 92 (49%) due to a combination of illicitly manufactured and pharmaceutical drugs.

These figures through the first three-quarters of 2016 far exceed the numbers through the first nine months of 2015 as well. In 2015 there were 174 drug overdose deaths recorded in the first three quarters of the year.

Attorney General Mills expressed her thanks to the men and women of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and to Marcella Sorg, PhD, D-ABFA of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine for their work in compiling this data.

Link to past annual Data: http://www.maine.gov/ag/news/article.shtml?id=671344

 

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