Opioid/heroin forum yields a range of views, strategies

March 30th, 2016 by admin Leave a reply »

ELLSWORTH — There was no dazzling light at the end of the tunnel for the 70-plus concerned citizens who participated in Monday night’s opioid forum. But they came away with a better idea of the dimensions of the tunnel.

The forum at Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School, sponsored by Healthy Acadia and The Ellsworth American, featured drug intervention professionals, a psychiatrist, a recovering heroin addict and the county sheriff.

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Together they presented a daunting picture:

  • A total of 273 opioid and heroin overdose deaths in 2015 — up 31 percent from the year before. Two overdose deaths in the Machias area last weekend.
  • Prescription drug misuse among 12th-graders in Hancock County at almost twice the state average; 6 percent of the county’s high school seniors have tried heroin once in their lives — twice the state average.
  • No availability this side of Portland of suboxone, which has been found effective, in some cases, for those who cannot go cold turkey.
  • Police and corrections officers having little experience with individuals addicted to opiates. “We’re never, ever, going to arrest our way out of the problem,” Sheriff Scott Kane said.

Kip Young, a drug intervention counselor in Ellsworth, said it doesn’t help to stigmatize a person who is addicted to opioids. Some 20 percent of his

Article source: http://www.ellsworthamerican.com/featured/opioidheroin-forum-yields-range-views-strategies