Intervention Aroostook: 8.3.2021

Intervention Aroostook
Intervention Aroostook
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 8:06 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -New statistics are out about drug use and overdose deaths that happened last year in Maine. In this week’s Intervention Aroostook, Shawn Cunningham reveals some startling numbers and talks to the county Sheriff who says THIS YEAR the numbers could climb because of some frightening drug trends.

2020 was a historic year because of the pandemic. And now another reality marking that year...drug overdoses on the uptick.


Last year, 504 Mainers died from drug overdoses. Its an increase of 33% from 2019.

Aroostook County Sheriff Shawn Gillen says its not surprising at all.

Shawn Gillen Aroostook County Sheriff

“It was a huge increase I think during the pandemic because there was treatment facilities that were shut down soboxone was hard to get that type of thing people were secluded I think mental health and substance use go hand in hand...”

Shawn Cunningham NO STANDUP

In a new report, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found drug overdose deaths rose by close to 30% in the United States in 2020, hitting the highest number ever recorded. Gillen says the pandemic heightened fear, alienation and lack of access to treatment resources ...compound that with mental health all subsequently led to more people giving in to their addiction. And he says there’s another new disturbing trend for people to worry about...

“we’re responding to a lot more mental health crises that usually had substance use behind it whether it was alcohol opioids and now you’re looking at methamphetamine overdoses are on the rise as well.”

Taking that a step further he says...

“before you never really heard about methamphetamine or stimulant overdoses but now they’re being laced with fentanyl these people that are used to taking stimulants aren’t used to taking opioids and are overdosing immediately.”

And looking into what this year for stats and trends, will things fare better for 2021...he says...the picture is a bit bleak because....

“everybody wants to think and hope that things do get better its pretty simple its supply and demand and if there’s a still a demand there’ll always be a supply...”

Always be a supply and always be people like him and law enforcement departments working hard to keep drugs off the streets, criminals behind bars...and the number of overdose deaths down. Shawn Cunningham, NS 8.

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