BANGOR — A new report about drug overdoses in Maine shows a significant increase in the number of deaths.
A homeless Bangor man who was living at the Ramada Inn recently overdosed and died.
“Chris referred to the hotel as a dorm room full of addicts and the dealers were moving in,” said the sister of Christopher Smith, who lives in Hermon and asked not to be identified.
When coronavirus hit the state, MaineHousing officials applied for CARES Act funding to get homeless people into temporary housing that allows for social distancing. They got more than $12 million and set up four wellness shelters, including one at the Ramada.
The sister of Smith said he overdosed behind the Roadway Inn, which is located next to the Ramada.
“You take a bunch of addicts and put them together under one roof, many of them with mental illness, and then you have the dealers right down the hall, of course, there is going to be an uptick in overdoses,” she said. “It’s bull$%&#.”
Smith’s sister said she wants the hotel program shut down.
She said her brother had used drugs for about a decade but was doing well living in a room by himself before the state offered him a place to stay for free at the Ramada.
The Attorney General’s Office and medical examiner released data Friday saying Maine overdose deaths this year increase by 23 percent over the last quarter of 2019. The report says 127 Mainers died during the first quarter of 2020.
All total, there were 380 deaths caused by drugs in 2019, a 7 percent increase over 2018.
Smith overdosed on drugs July 12 and died at the hospital four days later.
“I saw him the day before and I didn’t know he’d be gone the next,” said Dustin, a homeless friend from Bangor. “I’m really upset about it. I almost want to cry right now.”