2017-05-03 / State/Regional

Bill addresses opioid crisis in rural Maine


AUGUSTA (AP) — A Republican's bill tackles the opioid crisis in a rural Maine county with the state's highest rate of drug overdose deaths.

Republican Sen. Joyce Maker's bill would provide $1.6 million to create a pilot project for treatment and recovery services in Washington County.

Her bill is set for a work session Wednesday and could receive a key committee vote.

The county has the highest average rate of drug overdose deaths in Maine with 19.7 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents. Its rate of drug-affected babies is nearly double the statewide average.

Maine's only detox beds are in Portland, which can be a four hour trip from Washington County.

The county has no residential treatment facilities.

The Department of Health and Human Services said the bill lacks the detail needed to succeed.

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