In 2017, 952 drug-affected infants were born in Maine, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. In the last decade, 7,708 babies were born affected by drugs, 1,024 in 2016 alone, representing approximately 8 percent of all live births in Maine.
At least one person a day dies of a drug overdose, increasingly from heroin and fentanyl.
Two-thirds of the 368 drugged-driving traffic stops in 2016 tested positive for opioids, according to the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Lab: Analysis Maine Rural Drug and Alcohol Research Program at the University of Maine.
There is no silver bullet to this complex problem, which is not simply a public safety or law enforcement matter, but a full-blown public health crisis that leaves thousands of children without a parent, communities devastated, employers without a healthy workforce, and families torn apart.
Here are 10 things we can do:
What we are doing now is not winning this war. We must do more than “just say no.” The solution requires compassion, community, a change in culture and our full commitment as a state.
One more overdose is one too many. One more family torn asunder is one too many. One more orphaned child is one too many.
Let’s make 2018 a new beginning.