BANGOR — State lawmakers heard from Gordon Smith, director of opioid response, on Tuesday.
Smith said Maine currently is facing about 10 fatalities a week, which Smith said is unacceptable.
During the meeting, he went into detail about the 10-step plan the state has already funded for 2021. The full version is posted to the web.
“The state has distributed well over 60,000 doses of Narcan and we want to saturate our communities with it,” Smith said. “We also want people to know that Mainecare pays for it.”
He said part of the plan is to reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal doses but that they haven’t forgotten about adolescents in Maine.
According to the report, some of the already funded strategic plans include supporting the activities of the Children’s Cabinet, which will benefit and improve early childhood development and preventive use.
“Dr. Landry and child family services, and I and the children’s cabinet, we are all working diligently to fill that gap,” he said. The plan also calls for engaging providers and law enforcement in the conversation to reduce self-harm.
“Harm reduction is clearly our syringe exchange which we have expanded from 7 sites to 13 today and with 2 more certified about to open,” Smith reminded everyone that he knows it is controversial.
The University of Maine is providing the death toll, with details indicated by age, race, and more, and publishing it monthly. Smith said doing this will provide more transparency with the public and the ability to combat the opioid crisis with an open mind.