Please go to Central Maine Online to read the full editorial.
We’re doing most of the right things to save lives. We just need to do more.
The report from Maine’s chief medical examiner was disappointing but should not have been a surprise for anyone who has been living through the opioid epidemic.
Overdose deaths appear to be on the rise again after a slight decline in 2018 that gave the false impression that the crisis was subsiding.
But according to the state, 277 people lost their lives to drug overdose deaths in the first nine months of 2019, putting Maine on track for 369 deaths for the year, which would be a 4 percent increase over 2018. The vast majority of the deaths were classified as accidental, as opposed to suicide, and 84 percent of the time, an opioid drug was involved.
These numbers should make clear to the public that the crisis has not lifted and Maine should not lose focus on it. After wasted years in Augusta that allowed opioid dependence to take hold in every corner of the state, Maine is finally doing the right things to contain and treat this disease. We are just not doing enough of them.