March 29, 2020
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Maine sixth worst state for increase in overdose deaths

Rick Bowmer | AP
Rick Bowmer | AP
This Friday, June 1, 2018, file photo, shows syringes of the opioid painkiller fentanyl in an inpatient pharmacy.

PORTLAND, Maine — Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Maine is the sixth worst state when it comes to an increase in overdose deaths.

According to the CDC, overdose deaths increased 10.9 percent between January 2017 and 2018 compared to the national average of 6.6 percent.

[Every 8 minutes someone died from a drug overdose last year]

The CDC says 407 people died from drug overdoses in Maine during that time, up from 367 deaths in 2016.

The CDC numbers are slightly below the Maine Attorney General’s Office, which reported 418 and 376 overdose-related deaths for those two years.

Dr. Jonathan Fellers, a medical director at Maine Medical Center, links the rise in deaths to an increase in fentanyl.

Comparing the situation to Russian Roulette, Fellers says “there’s more bullets in the chambers than it used to be.”

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