A growing addiction: Heroin overdoses on the rise in Maine

June 23rd, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

One man was found in bed, dead at 39, in the early hours of the morning. Three sleeping children didn’t know about daddy’s drug habit.

Another was 32 and found dead, at home, in the bathroom last month.

A third was 62, also found dead in bed by family.

Lewiston and Auburn police are investigating the three possible fatal heroin overdoses between March and May, waiting for toxicology results and possible charges. Police say the deaths are too spread out to have been one bad batch.

But then, it’s heroin. It’s all bad.

And it’s on the rise in Maine, again.

Heroin killed three times as many people in 2012 than it did in 2011 in Maine, according to numbers from the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

Maine Drug Enforcement agents around the state made 99 heroin busts in the first five months of 2013 after counting 127 for all of last year.

Numbers also show more heroin addicts checking into treatment here. One-quarter report they’ve shared needles. The state epidemiologist worries about users spreading hepatitis and HIV and catching infections that can go straight for the heart. Law enforcement officers worry about patting down suspects and getting pricked.

“We’re seeing a lot of heroin,” said Dr. Michael E. Kelley, chief of psychiatry at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, which has inpatients and outpatients in its chemical dependency detox program.

At the root is economics, with deadly implications.

About 15 years ago, Kelley said, doctors received a subtle message regarding pain meds: Start

Article source: http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/23/news/state/a-growing-addiction-heroin-overdoses-on-the-rise-in-maine/