Maine saw more than 700 people die of drug overdoses in 2022, the third straight year that the state set a new record for overdose fatalities.
News Center Maine reported that 716 people died of drug overdoses in Maine in 2022, compared to 631 in 2021, according to a new report from the attorney general's office.
Overall, there were 10,110 overdoses in 2022, up from 9,678 the year before.
"They're not surprising," said Gordon Smith, Maine’s director of opioid response. "We can make this better if we do the right thing."
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
He said the state is planning to focus more on the strategies proven to prevent drug overdose deaths in 2023, including the use of the overdose reversal drug Narcan. The proposed budget also includes millions in funds for mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse disorders.
Maine officials said overdose deaths have increased dramatically in Maine and across the U.S. in recent years due to the increased prevalence of fentanyl.
“Worsened by the growing presence of deadly fentanyl, the scourge of addiction continues to reach into every corner of our state – rural and urban – robbing us of our friends, family and loved ones and harming our communities, our people, and our future,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement. “My heart breaks with every life lost to a drug overdose, and my Administration will not rest until we reduce this number to zero. We will continue to work with advocates, the recovery community, and lawmakers to tackle this epidemic, to prevent addiction, to help more people access treatment and recovery, and to save lives.”