Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Portland, Maine
In Portland, Maine, reports show that there is about one overdose every 30 hours. In the last year from January to August of 2021, 175 overdoses were reported; 14 of them were fatal. While the numbers have declined since last year, they are no less concerning.
To combat these statistics, programs like Overdose Prevention Project aim to approach the problem from a public health perspective, informing community members through education and various training programs. There are treatment options nearby for those struggling with addiction and substance use disorders (SUD).
The Opioid and Heroin Epidemic in Portland
In 2020, 504 people died of a drug overdose throughout the state. This number exceeds the previous high in 2017 of 418 overdose deaths by 33%. 91% of the deaths were accidental overdoses and 83% were due to opioids—most of the time combined with other drugs and/or alcohol. Most people who have lost their lives to opioids in Portland were simultaneously using more than one drug. Oftentimes they were using multiple different types of opioids, which were usually non-prescribed and illegally manufactured. Many people in Portland who develop an addiction to opioids eventually begin using Heroin. In 2017, overdosing on heroin killed 88 people in Maine. The use of heroin by itself poses a serious risk to anyone’s life, but drug traffickers in Portland often sell Fentanyl disguised as Heroin or Heroin laced with Fentanyl, which is even more likely than Heroin to cause death.
Methamphetamine Use Is On The Rise
Methamphetamine is illegal in Maine and highly addictive. Unfortunately, the use of meth is becoming increasingly common in Portland and throughout the rest of the state. In fact, many people died in Maine in 2016 and 2017 after overdosing on meth combined with opioids or heroin, and police report that by November of 2019, they saw 47 cases of felony possession of meth, up from 6 two years prior in 2017.
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From 2015 to 2016, the number of deaths in Maine which involved Cocaine increased from 35 to 60. Many people who overdose on cocaine often use the drug along with at least one other dangerous substance, such as heroin. A large market for cocaine has developed in Portland and police regularly arrest drug traffickers carrying large quantities of cocaine in Cumberland County. In July of 2021, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) confiscated over four pounds of cocaine—two of which were disguised as cake. Its estimated worth is around $200,000.
Get Help Today
Portland is a beautiful and vibrant city, but there are many residents who are dependent on drugs. Opioids, methamphetamine, and cocaine destroy lives, but with treatment anyone can overcome addiction. If you’re struggling with addiction to drugs, there are recovery centers nearby where you can detox, get therapy and counseling, and set yourself on the path to sobriety. If you’re ready to reclaim your life from addiction, contact a treatment provider today.
Nathan Yerby is a writer and researcher. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
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- Flisiuk, Francis. (2018). Deaths from drug overdoses reached a record high in 2017. The Portland Phoenix. Retrieved on October 12, 2018, from https://www.conwaydailysun.com/portland_phoenix/news/this_just_in/deaths-from-drug-overdoses-reached-a-record-high-in/article_97056a96-1bc6-11e8-9cac-ef71c48e021c.html
- Maine Opioid Summary (last updated 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved on October 10, 2018, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/maine-opioid-summary
- McGuire, Peter. (2018). South Portland man picked up on drug trafficking warrants. Portland Press Herald. Retrieved on October 12, 2018, from https://www.pressherald.com/2018/10/11/south-portland-man-picked-up-drug-trafficking-warrants/
- Russell, Eric. (2017). A deadly epidemic: Addiction to opioids has put an entire generation at risk. Portland Press Herald. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://www.pressherald.com/2017/03/26/lost-heroins-killer-grip-on-maines-people/
- Sharp, David. (2017). Worsening meth problem adds to Maine’s drug crisis. Portland Press Herald. Retrieved on October 12, 2018, from https://www.pressherald.com/2017/01/01/growing-meth-problem-adds-to-maines-drug-woes/
- Sorg, Marcella H. (2017). Expanded Maine Drug Death Report for 2016. Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, University of Maine. Retrieved on October 12, 2018, from http://www.mainehealthindex.org/sites/default/files/Drug%20Death%202016%20Final%20Rpt%20April%2011%202017.pdf
- Sorg, Marcella H. (2018). Expanded Maine Drug Death Report for 2017. Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, University of Maine. Retrieved on October 12, 2018, from https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/public-health-systems/scc/documents/2017-Drug-Deaths-Final.pdf
- Substance Abuse Trends in Maine State Epidemiological Profile. (2017). Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved on October 12, 2018, from http://www.maineseow.com/Documents/SEOW%20EpiProfile%202017%20FINAL%2009292017.pdf
- News Center Maine. (2021). 'One Overdose Every 30 Hours': Portland Police Release New Overdose, Drug Death Statistics. Retrieved on December 20, 2021 from: https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/health/one-overdose-every-30-hours-portland-police-release-new-overdose-death-statistics-naloxone/97-803c7002-d62e-4ecc-af06-520afbb2327d
- News Center Maine. (2021). Though Down in 3rd Quarter, 2020 Total Drug Deaths Expected to 'Significantly Exceed' Those in 2019. Retrieved on December 22, 2021 from: https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/health/though-down-in-3rd-quarter-2020-total-drug-deaths-expected-to-significantly-exceed-those-in-2019/97-105e6807-5a9a-452d-afd5-9e9bd5d9567b
- News Center Maine. (2021). Crystal Meth is on the Rise in Maine. Retrieved on December 22, 2021 from: https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/crime/crystal-meth-is-on-the-rise-in-maine/97-491784fe-4efe-46b6-8fc1-6502e2bb5c87
- Portland Maine. (n.d.). Overdose Prevention Project. Retrieved on December 20, 2021 from: https://www.portlandmaine.gov/411/Overdose-Prevention-Project
- Us News. (2021). Overdose Deaths Set Record in Pandemic Year in Maine. Retrieved on December 22, 2021 from: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/maine/articles/2021-06-23/overdose-deaths-set-record-in-pandemic-year-in-maine
- Bangor Daily News. (2021). Maine Police Seize 4 Pounds of Cocaine Disguised as a Cake. Retrieved on December 22, 2021 from: https://bangordailynews.com/2021/07/21/news/central-maine/maine-police-seize-4-pounds-of-cocaine-disguised-as-a-cake/