- Increases in the capacity for the State to respond to the opioid crisis.
- The growth of keystone State initiatives
- Surveillance data regarding fatal overdoses and other actionable data that the State is using to respond to the overdose crisis that are not listed in the other five Focus Areas (Pubic Safety, Prevention, Harm Reduction, Treatment, and Recovery).
Substance misuse and substance use disorder remain a top priority for the State of Maine
This include leadership and direction from the following State-based groups and individuals:
- Director of Opioid Response
- Prevention and Recovery Cabinet
- Opioid Coordinating Council
- Clinical Advisory Committee
- Maine Recovery Council
- Substance Use Disorder Services Commission
- Opioid Data Sharing Committee
The State is maintaining a robust data collection and analysis infrastructure
Beginning in January 2021, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and the Office of Behavioral Health began releasing a monthly fatal and nonfatal overdose report. This report surveils both the suspected and confirmed fatal overdoses as well as nonfatal opioid overdoses reported by Emergency Departments, ME EMS, law enforcement, and the Maine Naloxone Distribution Initiative.
For detailed information regarding the most recent monthly overdose report please visit The Maine Drug Data Hub: Monthly Overdose Dashboard. (Strategy 4)
Fatal Drug Overdoses in Maine during December 2023
Fatal Drug Overdoses in Maine Jan – Dec 2023
Fatal overdose rose 15% in the State of Maine during 2022 compared to 2021.
Fatal Drug Overdoses in Maine 2022
Drug deaths totaled 723 during 2022, a 15% increase over the 631 occurring during 2021. This pattern, similar to that seen in many other states, is likely due at least in part to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic: isolation, avoidance of medical services, and alterations in the illicit drug supply. The high number of fatal overdoses continues to be driven by illicit, nonpharmaceutical fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, totaling 560 during 2022, 77% of deaths. In contrast, pharmaceutical opioids were mentioned as a cause of death in 156 cases, 22% of deaths. Approximately one-third of opioid deaths (182, 25%) received naloxone at some point near the time of their death. Finally, the has been a rise in stimulant involvement in drug fatalities over the past several years. In 2022 213 (29%) involved cocaine while 243 (32%) involved methamphetamine. It is important to note that all drugs involved in drug deaths are listed as a cause of death and these substances listed above are not mutually exclusive. Fentanyl was listed as a cause of death in 80% of cocaine fatalities and 81% of methamphetamine fatalities. (Strategy 4)
Source: The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, University of Maine
Maine is reviewing and supporting economic studies regarding the cost of substance use disorder to families and businesses
The prevalence of drug misuse and the number of drug-related deaths have increased across time. Lost productivity has also increased across time. In 2019, lost productivity was $271 million (annual) from morbidity and $565 million (lifetime) from mortality. This reflects the lost value to Maine that occurs when individuals cannot fully contribute to the labor market or non-market activities.
For more information regarding the economic impacts of substance misuse and substance use disorder in Maine see:
The State is committed to sharing key data regarding problematic substance use and substance use disorder to inform the public and guide policy and program design
In January 2021 the State of Maine partnered with the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine to launch the Maine Drug Data Hub. The goal of the Hub is to act as a one-stop-shop for data, reports, and resources regarding timely and actionable substance use, substance use disorder, and overdose data. Most metrics on the Hub are reported at a monthly cadence to increase public transparency around the opioid epidemic in Maine and the State’s response. Further, having a central data location informs policymakers and aides in programatic design, interventions, and informed policy formation (Strategy 4.e.).
From January 2021 to October 2023 there has been a total of 71,774 unique individual users that have been served by the Maine Drug Data Hub. These individuals have visited 1,701,504 pages while on the Hub and have downloaded over 38,000 documents and reports.
The overdose mapping tool, ODMAP, allows for real time analysis and spike alerts of community and county nonfatal and fatal drug overdose.
The Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, or ODMAP, seeks to provide near real-time data regarding suspected overdoses responded to by public safety officials. The goal is to utilize these law enforcement overdose responses to organize public health efforts to mobilize an immediate response to a sudden increase, or spike in overdose events.
In Maine, over 85 state, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies collect overdose data and report it to ODMAP. The map below shows enrolled counties in yellow, enrolled municipal law enforcement agencies as dark blue circles, and enrolled statewide agencies in light blue. Currently unenrolled counties are colored black and unenrolled municipalities are gray circles. The State promotes the utilization of ODMAP by law enforcement agencies as well as the sharing of overdose spike data with public health officials, clinicians, and community partners. (Strategy 5.h; 5i)
Essential to the success of ODMAP is the timeliness of data reporting. To make overdose data actionable, clinicians, community partners and public health officials need identify increases in nonfatal and fatal overdoses quickly. The following graph shows the percentage of ODMAP entries that were made within 24 hours each month. (Strategy 4.g.)
If you would like to sign up for the SPIKE Auto Text Program to receive overdose spike alerts directly to your cellphone please text the word SPIKE to (855)-963-5669. If you are a community partner who would like to sign up for ODMAP access talk to your local police department. (Strategy 4.g.)
Law enforcement is dedicated to enhancing the flow of public safety data related to illicit substances in Maine
The Maine State Bureau of Identification (SBI)
SBI collects and maintains criminal history information throughout the State including drug related arrests. These metrics track the number of drug arrests by substance and the number of opioid arrests by county. It does not include federal charges or dispositions. It includes data for all participating local, county, and statewide law enforcement agencies in Maine. These data do not include federal law enforcement arrests or seizures that take place in Maine. This data is reported monthly through the Drug Monitoring Initiative (DMI) report compiled by the Public Health Analyst working alongside NE-HIDTA (New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas)
Opioid Arrests in Maine, 2022
Source: New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (NE-HIDTA).
The State of Maine is committed to educating individuals and organizations regarding the realities of substance use disorder, how individuals are affected, and that recovery is not only possible, but probable
The State continues to develop and implement evidence-based public messaging campaigns, provide educational opportunities for clinicians, and promote recovery friendly workplaces, campuses, and communities. Through public forums, the promotion of film and storytelling, as well as the OPTIONS campaign, the State is creating more opportunities for individuals, families, and others affected by substance use disorder to tell their personal stories of addiction and recovery. (Strategy 4.j.)
Voices of Survival
For more voices of recovery from Maine, visit the “Stories” page of of the Know Your OPTIONS website. (Strategy 4.j)
Maine is investing in local and statewide efforts to improve public understanding and reduce stigma and discrimination
Each year the State hosts the Opioid Response Summit which convenes leaders from across Maine as well as the Federal government to share ideas, strategies, and best practices to help Maine people and families affected by the overdose crisis. Each month, there also is a related webinar series that explores emerging issues or initiative throughout Maine.