Drug overdose deaths increased slightly in the first three quarters of 2019, according to a press release issued by Attorney General Aaron M. Frey today. Frey said that he remains concerned about the opioid use disorder epidemic.
“I am concerned that the number of deaths resulting from overdoses remains high,” said Frey. “The data in this report confirms how significant this crises is. It will take dedication from elected officials, individuals, organizations and communications across the state to get to the other side of this and I am strongly supportive of the efforts underway to turn the tide.”
The report compiled by Dr. Marcella Song of the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center showed that 277 deaths were caused by drugs in January through September of 2019. Dr. Song’s report forecasts total drug deaths for the year to be 4% higher than in 2018. The vast majority of the overdoses (84%) are caused by at least one opioid.
Attorney General Frey noted that combining drug deaths continues to be a priority of this office of the Attorney General. He is a member of the Governor’s Opioid Task Force.
Of the 277 deaths, 246 (89%) were accidental overdoses, 27 (10%) were suicides and 4 (1%) had an underdetermined manner of death.