Maine sees 31% increase in overdose deaths

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PORTLAND – In a record year for overdose deaths in Maine, 17 percent occurred in the city.

On Monday, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said there were 272 overdose deaths in 2015 across the state, with 46 reported in Portland. The death toll is a 31 percent increase from the 208 reported in 2014.

Mills said 157 of the deaths were caused by heroin or non-pharmaceutical fentanyl, and 111 from pharmaceutical opioid use. It marked the first time overdose deaths from illicit drugs exceeded overdose deaths cause by pharmaceutical opioids, although deaths increased in both categories.

Two-thirds of those dying from an overdose were men, Mills said, and other intoxicants were found in nearly all the victims.

“These figures are shocking,” Mills said. “Maine averaged more than five drug deaths per week.”