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As a candidate for Governor in Maine, voters may wish to have some understanding of how I, if elected, would address the opioid addiction problem in Maine.

THE PROBLEM

Every day 91 Americans die from some form of drug addiction. 

Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. The majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid.1

Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids(https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/prescribed.html) and heroin(https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/heroin.html)) quadrupled.2 From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

We now know that overdoses from prescription opioids are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled,2 yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report.3,4

Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999.

According to the U.S Center for Disease Control, one of the major reasons for this epidemic is doctors writing too many prescriptions.

In 2015, the amount of opioids prescribed was enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for 3 weeks

Even at low doses, taking an opioid for more than 3 months increases the risk of addiction by 15 times.

A dose of 50 MME or more per day doubles the risk of opioid overdose death, compared to 20 MME or less per day. At 90 MME or more, the risk increases 10 times.

Among the opioids prescribed by physicians  as well as those illegally produced is fentanyl which is primarily prescribed to manage acute and chronic pain associated with advanced cancer

Fentanyl is a synthetic (man-made) opioid that is 50x more potent than heroin and 100x more potent than morphine. There are two types of fentanyl:

The death rate of synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes drugs such as tramadol and fentanyl, increased by 72.2% from 2014 to 2015.1

Synthetic opioid death rates (other than methadone) increased across all demographics, regions, and numerous states. Recent state reports have indicated that increases in synthetic opioid-involved deaths have been associated with the number of drug products obtained by law enforcement testing positive for fentanyl but not fentanyl prescribing rates. These reports indicate that increases in synthetic opioid-involved deaths are being driven by increases in fentanyl-involved overdose deaths, which are likely due to illegal production.

THE SOLUTIONS

  • Enhanced training of physicians in the prescribing less-addictive, alternative opioids such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen as well as encouraging physical therapy and exercise.
  • Prescriptions should only be prescribed for the expected duration of pain only after non-prescription alternatives such as acupuncture, physical therapy, and less invasive methodologies have been exhausted.
  • Prescribe the lowest dose for acute pain with ongoing reassessments.
  • Encourage Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants who wish to obtain a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine in office based treatment of opioid use disordershttps://www.asam.org/education/live-online-cme/buprenorphine-course
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  • K-1 through K-12 should include ongoing education on the dangerous affects of drugs and how they get into communities.  Posters should be posted school hallways educating students about drug addiction. 
  • Parents, teachers, and citizen groups should organize to hold ongoing discussions and use the training materials available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association to maintain a constant fight to reduce the demand for opioids.
  • Local governments or community service organization can issue free public services announcement in social media, tv, and radio.
  • If citizens know someone who is addicted, try to get them to a local treatment center.
  • Legislators should be encouraged to support new and existing community-based treatment facilities such as these:
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    Opioid Treatment Programs in Maine

    Download Excel

     

    Program Name

    Street

    City

    State

    Zip Code

    Phone

     

    Acadia Healthcare

    268 Stillwater Ave.

    Bangor

    ME

    04401

    (207) 973-6443

    Map

    Discovery House-BR, Inc.

    74 Dowd Road

    Bangor

    ME

    04401

    (207) 947-6800

    Map

    Metro Treatment of Maine, LP

    Maine Square Mall

    Bangor

    ME

    04401

    (207) 973-0400

    Map

    Discovery House WC, Inc.

    12 Beech St. Unit 2

    Calais

    ME

    04619

    (207) 454-1300

    Map

    Merrimack River Medical Services, Inc.

    18 Mollison Way

    Lewiston

    ME

    04240

    (207) 312-6860

    Map

    Merrimack River Medical Services, Inc

    2300 Congress Street

    Portland

    ME

    04102

    (207-221-2292

    Map

    Colonial Management Group, LP dba Metro Treatment of Maine, LP

    166 New County Road

    Rockland

    ME

    04841

    (207) 596-0312

    Map

    Spectrum Outpatient - Sanford, ME

    69 Eagle Drive

    Sanford

    ME

    04073

    (207) 324-2007

    Map

    Center for Behavioral Health- Maine

    400 Western Ave.

    South Portland

    ME

    04106

    (207) 774-7111

    Map

    Discovery House of Central Maine, Inc.

    40 Airport Road

    Waterville

    ME

    04901

    (207) 872-7272

    Map

    CAP Quality Care

    One Delta Dr., Suite A

    Westbrook

    ME

    04092

    (207) 856-7227

    Map

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Committee to Elect Patrick "Ike" Eisenhart
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