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Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center

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Abstract/ Summary

This report, funded by the Maine Office of Attorney General, provides a summary of statistics regarding drug fatalities in Maine during January-March, 2020, as well as preliminary estimates for April-June. Data for the report were collected at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. A “drug death” is identified when one or more drugs are mentioned on the death certificate as a cause or significant contributing factor for the death. During the first quarter of 2020, total fatalities due to drugs are 23% higher than the fourth quarter of 2019: 127 compared to 103. The estimated total for the second quarter is 132, with a total of 259 estimated for the first half of 2020. The overall increase, comparing 2019 and the estimate for the first half of 2020, is statistically significant (p=.0039). It is comparable to increases being seen nationally, which are attributed to the effects of the pandemic, including social isolation, economic difficulty, and reluctance to seek medical attention. Interruptions in drug supplies internationally have resulted in substitutions and combinations that may be contributing to additional vulnerabilities to overdose.


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