Maine Recognized for Efforts to Address Opioid Abuse | NECN


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Maine Recognized for Efforts to Address Opioid Abuse




    Maine is one of five states whose efforts to address opioid abuse have met five out of six national benchmarks.

    The nonprofit National Safety Council highlighted Maine's programs monitoring and setting guidelines for prescription drugs. It noted Maine provides "sufficient" buprenorphine treatment and has increased access to the overdose antidote naloxone.

    But Maine and 37 other states didn't meet a benchmark for regulating so-called "pill mills."

    Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew said more than 70 percent of heroin addicts started with a legally prescribed pain pill. In 2014, about 350,000 Mainers were prescribed 80 million opioid painkillers.

    Maine advocates call for more rural treatment options.

    Deborah Hersman, president of the National Safety Council, said more than 19,000 people die annually from prescription opioid overdoses.

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