Maine Overdoses Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic

The quiet town of Milford, Maine has had its share of drug issues. On Oct. 13, 2020, reports of a possible overdose occurred on the corner of Main Road and Bridge Street. Two officers of Maine’s Sheriff’s Department arrived shortly after 1:31 p.m. EST.

Milford Maine Overdose

OverdoseAccording to a witness, this is the second possible overdose to happen in the area in the past 24 hours. Old Town emergency response team arrived at the scene to tend to the person who may have overdosed.

A brown and tan van was seen driving towards Old Town when it suddenly veered into a telephone pole. Luckily the driver of the vehicle was not speeding at the time and just gently collided with the pole.

Officers declined to give any information about the situation at first. The only information the officer did release was the subject had been found conscious and breathing. That person was being treated inside the ambulance at the time.

The attending officers proceeded to search the vehicle, most likely searching for drug evidence. The name, sex, or age of the person has not been disclosed at this time.

2020 First Quarter Drug Overdose Report for Maine

In 2019, Maine’s Governor Janet Mills started up a task force to combat the opioid issues in the state. Mills placed Gordon Smith as the Director of the Opioid Response team. On July 17, 2020, Mills released her administration’s first-quarter drug overdose report.

Smith stated that since the start of the task force they had been able to reverse “hundreds of overdoses which would have otherwise been fatal…” He further boasted about how Maine has been able to improve its access to treatment for drug addicts.

Maine has also increased its “prevention and education efforts,” and increased support for “strong community responses to the opioid epidemic.” These efforts have not dissipated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mills wants every Mainer to know that they are not battling their addictions alone. Regardless of what the pandemic holds, help will be available.

There is no quick or easy cure, but we will continue to put the full force of this Administration behind your recovery. Together, we can defeat the opioid epidemic and make our state whole once again.

People everywhere have felt the sting of isolation as the pandemic continues to infect the world. Some contribute to this isolation to the rising increase of overdose-related deaths.

Mills held her second annual Opioid Response Summit on the 23rd of July. Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah was one of the speakers at this event.

According to Shah, there were 127 drug overdose deaths within the first three months of this year. This is an increase in overdoses of 23 percent from the last quarter in 2019. He believes this is due to the isolation created by the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has isolated us in ways that introduce new stressors for those with SUD in ways that are truly immeasurable.

Overdoses Rise During the Pandemic

As of Oct. 6, 2020, at least 40 states have reported an increase in deaths from overdoses. Many people feel the need to eliminate barriers so people with addictions can receive the help they need. Barriers such as sterile needles in exchange for used ones. Or providing naloxone for those who either use or know people who do.

Of course, there are those who feel this just accommodates addicts, causing them to overdose more often. No matter what a person’s viewpoint is on this subject the hard facts are addiction is a sickness.

When a person is sick they need help to get better. However, it is wise to remember that one cannot help a person who does not want to be helped. What this means is an addict cannot be forced into recovery.

This is something they have to want to do for themselves. Letting that person know that they have someone to talk to at any time is helpful. But ultimately the decision is theirs to make. They have Al-Anon meetings focused on support for those whose loved one is an addict. Overdosing can cause brain damage, other health issues, and of course death.

Written by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

American Medical Association: Issue brief: Reports of increases in opioid- and
other drug-related overdose and other concerns during COVID pandemic; Advocacy Resource Center

CBS: Governor’s 2nd annual Opioid Response Summit held virtually; Allegra Zamore

Maine: Mills Administration on 2020 First Quarter Drug Overdose Report; State of Maine Office of Governor Janet T. Mills

One the Scene Reporting: Self

Images Courtesy of the Guardian Liberty Voice Reporter Sheena Robertson

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