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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 – September 2020. 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.

The total number of fatalities due to drugs during the first three quarters of 2020 is 380 (Figure 1). The first quarter of 2020 had 127 deaths; the second quarter total was 131, a 3% increase over the 1st quarter 2020; and the third quarter had 122, a 7% decrease compared to the 2nd quarter. The first three quarters of 2020 total of 380 is 24% higher than the previous three-quarter period, April – December 2019, which had a total of 306. In fact, the number of drug fatalities during January – September 2020 is equal to the total in all of 2019. This pattern of increase, similar to that seen in many other states, is likely due at least in part to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic and related mitigation measures: isolation, avoidance of or difficulty accessing medical services, and alterations in the illicit drug supply.


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