Drug overdose deaths in Maine increased by nearly a quarter in 2021.
An estimated 636 people died from overdoses last year, up 23% from the previous year, the Portland Press Herald reported. Researchers informed the Maine legislature this week that the growing number of deaths is related to fentanyl being laced into other drugs without the user’s knowledge.
University of Maine researcher Marcella Sorg told lawmakers the trend in Maine reflects a growing problem nationally. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that there were about 101,000 overdose deaths in the year ended June. That was an increase of more than a fifth compared to the previous year.
The pandemic has exacerbated the crisis, Sorg said. More and more people are using the drugs alone, which means no one can administer naloxone, she said.