In the last five years, more than 1,600 Maine residents have died from a drug overdose. Governor Janet Mills has only been on the job for a few weeks, but she is planning to execute a lot of changes to alleviate drug overdoses in the state. In her first month. Mills recently named Gordon Smith the state’s first ever Director of Opioid Response, Smith being a long time medical lobbyist.
Where is Mills going to start battling the epidemic?
She believes more preventative measures must be put into action, like broadening the access to naloxone. Naloxone is an overdose reversal drug that can save the life of someone overdosing on opioids, but it can be costly to taxpayers. “We’re preparing an executive order in that regard. Preparing some financial orders that may well help transfer some funds and draw down some federal funds that are already there to help address that problem,” Mills said in response to the potential increase in taxpayers costs.
Maine already has safe injection sites, but Mills is expanding access to those as well as getting more Main residents into substance use treatment centers. The numbers in Maine are staggering for overdose deaths, and it’s understandable why Governor Mills is taking such fast action. In 2017, Maine reported 418 drug overdose deaths and there were 180 deaths in the first 6 months of 2018.
Reference. 2018 https://wgme.com/news/local/gov-mills-takes-new-approach-to-solving-opioid-crisis WGME