Maine is the in grips of an opioid epidemic. The Portland Press Herald reported the death toll from prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl reached 376 in 2016. That was a 40% increase in drug-related deaths over the previous year. In 2017, there were 418 drug-induced deaths, with a majority of those involving at least one opioid.
Communities are searching for answers. GPCOG is actively convening experts throughout public health, law enforcement, drug prevention, and school districts to examine strategies for reducing substance abuse disorder rates in our region. We have collaborated with the Cumberland District Public Health Council (CDPHC) to provide educational opportunities to our municipalities.
- GPCOG staff, public health consultant Liz Blackwell-Moore, and the Metro Regional Coalition meet to examine the key components of the opiate misuse problem in the region. Leaders have examined the root cause of opiate misuse and current community work with school superintendents and prevention providers within the Metro coalition region. This community scan identifies key stakeholders working on harm reduction, treatment, and recovery.
- GPCOG convened medical experts and law enforcement leaders at our 2017 Annual Summit. Our communities discussed a regional approach to opiate issues and next steps for all municipalities. See more in the Opiate Roundtable Discussion video from the 2017 Annual Summit.
- We’ve provided an action plan on how municipal members can take action and begin to address the gaps. See our toolkit here.
There are several providers of prevention covering all the towns in Cumberland County.
The Opportunity Alliance, Public Health Program
The City of Portland, Public Health Division
Casco Bay CAN
Westbrook Communities that Care
Windham/Raymond Be the Influence