(AUGUSTA) - A preliminary analysis of drug deaths in Maine occurring in the first half of 2015 has shown that deaths related to heroin and fentanyl continue to climb, while the overall number of drug overdose deaths is on track to be similar to 2014 - which was the worst year on record.
In the first half of 2015 the number of people who died from a drug overdose in Maine stands at 105. Of that figure, 37 deaths were primarily attributable to heroin and 26 primarily to fentanyl, according to an analysis of case files conducted for the Office of the Attorney General by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In all of 2014, 208 people died of overdoses, 57 primarily attributable to heroin and 43 primarily attributable to fentanyl.
"These numbers are terribly distressing," said Attorney General Janet T. Mills. "The first six months of 2015 show that this crisis continues unabated and we - everyone in the state of Maine - still have a great deal of work to do to get this under control. We need to address this crisis from all angles: education, prevention, treatment and interdiction."
Two caveats underscore these statistics: Based on experience in past years, the actual total for a year can vary about 15% up or down from twice the amount of the half-year mark. Also, most toxicology reports reveal that the decedent's blood contained numerous substances - cocaine, alcohol, fentanyl, heroin and other opioids or over-the-counter medications. One death can be caused by multiple substances.
"It cannot be stressed enough - You do not take heroin, it takes you," said Attorney General Mills.
If you or someone you know needs help getting treatment, dial: 211