If you are in crisis, seek immediate help. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
Please note, fatal and nonfatal overdoses are increasing in Maine due in part to circumstances surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic and an increased lethality of synthetic substances in the drug supply. Please remember to have naloxone on hand in case of an emergency and even if you administer naloxone, call 9-1-1 immediately as multiple doses of naloxone and emergency medical services are required to reverse many overdose events.
Through Governor Janet Mills’ Executive Order 2, aimed at responding to Maine’s opioid epidemic, the state is committed to:
- Maintaining a broad-based overdose education and naloxone administration program
- Developing evidence-based policies to reduce overdose deaths
- Meeting individuals when they are ready to engage in evidence-based treatments
- Training 250 recovery coaches and support the creation of recovery-friendly communities
- Creating public messaging campaigns to destigmatize persons who use drugs by law enforcement, clinicians, pharmacists, and the general public
Naloxone is a medication to have on hand in case of an opioid emergency. It is designed to reverse the effects of opioids in the body. In Maine, you can obtain naloxone through harm reduction and public health organizations or by contacting your physician or local pharmacist. Have a conversation today at your regional syringe access program or contact Maine Access Points or Health Equity Alliance to arrange for naloxone pickup or to have naloxone mailed to your home.
Engage with EMS
The Good Samaritan law: On May 23, 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed into law LD 329, An Act To Exempt from Criminal Liability Persons Reporting a Drug-related Medical Emergency. The law exempts individuals from arrest or prosecution for the possession of illicit drugs and drug paraphernalia as well as violations of probation if they are in good faith calling 9-1-1 to seek medical assistance for another person experiencing a drug-related overdose.
Syringe Access Programs (SAP) provide sterile supplies and disposal of supplies including syringes, fentanyl test strips, naloxone, and sharps disposal containers. SAPs also often provide overdose prevention education and disease testing services. SAPs are located in Augusta, Bangor, Belfast, Ellsworth, Lewiston, Machias, Portland, and Waterville. Due to Executive Order 27, mobile syringe exchange and home delivery is available. Also, the 1-for-1 rule is temporarily suspended.
Know your OPTIONS
Wherever you are in your journey, you are not alone. The Maine OPTIONS initiative, which stands for Overdose Prevention Through Intensive Outreach, Naloxone and Safety, can direct you to local harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and prevention services. Learn where you can get harm reduction supplies, what you can do to save a life, when you should call 9-1-1, and who you can turn to with questions regarding substance use, treatment, and recovery.
Use safely during COVID-19.
Using substances safely is always important; but it is even more so now during the global pandemic. Here are some guidelines to follow with Maine’s current situation in mind.
- Use your own supplies when using drugs to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You can still get the supplies that you need, like naloxone, sterile syringes, and fentanyl test strips at your local syringe access program.
- Assign someone to check in with you (via text, phone, or teleconferencing) before and after you use.
- Test your drugs using fentanyl test strips since drug supplies and batches are frequently changing during the pandemic.
- Try using a small amount at first and progress slowly.
- If you are using with someone else, do it safely by making sure you are staying six feet apart from each other and you are both wearing masks or cloth face coverings.
- Have naloxone nearby, and call 9-1-1 immediately during a suspected overdose.
Bystanders and public safety officials play important roles in responding to accidental drug overdoses.
In July of 2019, the state began distributing naloxone through four public health and harm reduction programs across Maine through the Maine Naloxone Distribution Initiative. These entities hand out thousands of doses each month to end users, clinicians, and community partners to give bystanders the training and tools they need to respond to opioid overdose events and save lives.
Source: University of Maine, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, Maine Naloxone Distribution Initiative.
Each month hundreds of opioid overdoses are reversed by individuals who have received naloxone through community distribution in the Maine Naloxone Distribution Initiative or who have naloxone on hand as part of their emergency medical response or law enforcement duties. It is essential to remember that in 2020, getting transported and treated at the hospital during an overdose event provided individuals over a 98% average survival rate. Please remember even if you administer naloxone to call 9-1-1 immediately.
Source: Office of the Maine Attorney General and OD MAP provides law enforcement data. Maine EMS provides EMS data. University of Maine, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center provides Maine Naloxone Distribution Initiative data.
Your local Syringe Access Program can refer enrollees to other services including housing, medical care, and SUD/OUD treatment.
As of 2019 there were over 6,000 Mainers enrolled in syringe access programs in the state. They provide an important link to health services for their local communities and can assist with blood borne pathogen testing, treatment for Hepatitis C and HIV, referrals to primary care providers, and medication-assisted treatment programs.
- Syringe Access Program
Crisis Support Hotlines:
Maine’s 24-hour Statewide Crisis Helpline – 1.888.568.1112
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1.800.273.TALK (8255)
Northern New England Poison Control Center – 1.800.222.1222
Substance Use Disorders Hotlines/Websites:
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – 1.800.737.6237 csoaamaine.org
Eyes Open for ME – 1.800.974.0062 www.eyesopenforme.org
Know Your OPTIONS – knowyouroptions.me
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) – 1.800.974.0062 www.namaine.org
Statewide Al’anon – 1.800.498.1844 www.maineafg.org