Brunswick not exempt from New England opiate epidemic

April 20th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

They are among Brunswick’s stay-at-home moms, its career criminals, its 50-year-old businessmen—even its high school students—and they all have at least one thing in common. They are Brunswick’s heroin and prescription opiate addicts.

The opiate addiction epidemic has gained national attention in the past year as the number of fatal heroin overdoses has skyrocketed, particularly in New England. In January, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont dedicated his entire State of the State address to the problem. In March, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts declared opiate abuse a public health emergency.
In his own State of the State speech in January, Maine Governor Paul LePage called drug use a “troubling epidemic,” and said that 927 babies in the state—more than 7 percent of all newborns—were born addicts in 2013. 

LePage had been hesitant to approve the distribution of nalaxone—an overdose reversal drug—fearing that it would give addicts a false sense of security. Last week, after intense criticism from lawmakers, health professionals and the media, LePage finally approved a bill that allows family members of addicts to receive the potentially life-saving drug.

Everyone the Orient interviewed for this article—a substance abuse counselor, the director of the outpatient behavioral health at Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick police officers, a defense attorney, and a psychologist—said that Maine’s opiate problem is not unique to certain cities, ethnicities, ages, or socioeconomic levels. Addiction exists everywhere, Brunswick included.


The most common path to heroin addiction begins with medicinal or recreational use of prescription painkillers like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet. These powerful drugs

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