Intervention Aroostook 1.5.2021
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -A New Year and one resolution that local law enforcement maintain is important to keep...combating drugs in the community. Shawn Cunningham talks to the Aroostook County Sheriff about the effort to keep drugs off the streets in 2020 and what’s ahead for 2021.
Last July, the Maine Attorney General’s Office released its drug death report for the first half of 2020...January thru March) as well as its estimates for the second quarter.
During the first quarter of 2020, total fatalities due to drugs were 23% higher than the fourth quarter of 2019: 127 compared to 103. With 2020 now behind us, Aroostook County Sheriff Shawn Gillen says the past year combating drugs was a challenge because of the pandemic...communities, businesses and borders shutdown. But still that didn’t stop the business of illicit drugs from creeping in...
Shawn Gillen Aroostook County Sheriff
“I still do think they’re still coming in the amount maybe is lower but out of state drugs has picked up heroin, fentanyl crack fentanyl are the big ones meth is still prevalent in the county...”
Shawn Cunningham NO STANDUP
The report indicates the rise in drug use was comparable to increases being seen nationally, which were attributed to the effects of the pandemic, including social isolation, economic difficulty, and reluctance to seek medical attention. Gillen says the biggest drug issue they’re seeing is still the opioid crisis...
“it really seems like a losing battle we had from Jan 2020 to June 2020 we had 10 opioid overdose deaths which doesn’t include other drug related deaths and it doesn’t include those that went to a hospital outside Aroostook so the numbers maybe off but 10 is still a large number.”
He says all law enforcement agencies in the county and throughout Maine for that matter spent most of the year working to advocate for more treatment services of addiction issues over incarceration.
“we’re trying to do more education to educate officers on what to look for and not so much concentrate on the piece of incarceration but maybe concentrate on getting them help whether it be mental help or getting them into rehab....But mental health is still going on and we continued to do that even through the pandemic.”
Continue to do that then and will continue to do even more so throughout 2021. Shawn Cunningham, NS 8
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