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Naloxone doses are now widely available in Maine pharmacies, although a new federal database shows significant variations in sales by county.
By: Joe Lawlor Staff Writer
In Maine and across the United States, prescriptions for a life-saving opioid antidote have escalated since 2016, according to federal and state statistics. Meanwhile, after climbing for years, drug overdose deaths started declining for the first time in 2018.
Experts say there’s a strong correlation between the two trends, as the use of the antidote naloxone helps substance use disorder patients stay alive until they can get into treatment. Naloxone is most commonly used as a nasal spray to revive patients who have overdosed on opioids.
“The trend is good, but we are really still just at the beginning,” Gordon Smith, Maine’s director of opioid response for the Mills administration, said in an interview Wednesday. “Naloxone indisputably saves lives.”