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The Attorney General releases data on drug overdose in January 2021

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February 18, 2021 – The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner have released data on drug overdoses for January 2021, which draws attention to the ongoing destruction being caused by the opioid epidemic in Maine. This report inaugurates the monthly reporting, designed to improve transparency and timeliness regarding disease and substance use mortality in Maine. The day-to-day numbers will be updated with each new monthly report, once the cases are completed and their overdose status is confirmed or ruled out. The total is expected to shift as this evolution takes place. Moreover, as a result of using a smaller sample size each month, totals are expected to fluctuate due to the effects of random change. The reports will also present aspects of the states’ response to the epidemic. These monthly reports will be posted on https://mainedrugdata.com.

The report, compiled by Dr. Marcella Sorg of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, showed that 58 deaths were caused by drugs in January 2021. Of those, 29 have been confirmed drug deaths and 29 are suspected drug deaths. The most common cause of death in these cases is non-pharmaceutical fentanyl.

In response to the report, Attorney General Aaron M. Frey said, “January numbers are a grim and tragic reminder of how widespread and deadly the opioid epidemic is. We need to work urgently to connect the Mainers who are struggling with the disorder.” of substance use with the resources they need to protect them and help them progress in recovery and we need to unite as a community to take control of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to remove barriers to treatment and support. “

Frey continued, “Reporting this data more often, and eventually adding data on non-fatal overdoses, will enable us to have a better real-time understanding of the crisis. I am also encouraged by the efforts made. by the Governor Mills administration and other stakeholders, and I am pleased that the report will begin to highlight aspects of the states’ response to the crisis that deserve the most attention. “

One such measure that Frey noted was the Naloxone Overdose Prevention and Safety in Intensive Proliferation initiative. OPTIONS is a coordinated effort by the Maine Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) and other state agencies to improve the health of Mainers by using substances through harm reduction strategies, assisting them on the path to recovery and reducing dramatic number of fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses. More information on OPTIONS can be found at https://knowyouroptions.me.

Attorney General Frey noted that combating drug-related deaths continues to be a priority for the Attorney General’s Office. He is a member of the governors’ prevention and recovery cabinet. Full report by Dr. Sorg is attached.

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