‘I was begging for a way out’: The drug and overdose crisis continues to rise in Maine


Consultants say the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation, lack of ability to entry inexpensive restoration providers, and easy accessibility to medication are amongst many causes

MAINE, Maine — Overdoses and drug-related deaths in Maine are spiking, with no sign of ending.

Consultants inform us there are lots of causes for the rise, together with the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation, an lack of ability to entry inexpensive restoration providers, and easy accessibility to medication.

“For us, it is a day by day factor,” stated Sgt. Wade Betters, public data officer for the Bangor Police Division. “We typically see spikes in deadly overdoses and overdoses typically. We suspect that it is closely tied to entry to money.”

Betters says folks use medication to stop experiencing withdrawal signs, which is why extra inexpensive facility therapies are urgently wanted.

Betters recalled lately talking to an energetic heroin person in Bangor.

“She was very open about the truth that she had used a few of her stimulus cash to feed her behavior, and was making an attempt her greatest to not use the final of it on her drug of selection,” he stated.

After moving into some hassle with the legislation, Carrie Grondin was supplied a remedy program as an alternative choice to jail. That program, she stated, is saving her life.

“I did not need to be in energetic habit. I needed out, and I did not imagine there was a method out,” she stated. “And also you’re in such a darkish place, to get out of that place you’re feeling like there isn’t a method out. You are feeling like you might be in hell and you’ll die, and so many individuals which might be down in that deep gap, they only need to come out, however they really feel there isn’t a method out.”

Grondin ended up homeless. She stated she overdosed a number of instances and misplaced all her belongings because of her habit to meth and alcohol.

“I used to be on the streets right here for 9 to 10 months, and it was a nightmare,” Grondin stated. “I knew this was taking place but it surely did not matter as a result of the very first thing that needed to be fed was my habit.”

Already this month, the Bangor Police Division has acquired 25 requires overdoses — 4 of which have been deadly.

“Ideally our job in chasing the drug sellers round can be a lot simpler if there have been fewer customers as a result of they won’t come right here if they can not promote their product,” Betters stated.

Betters stated many well-organized drug trafficking operations within the state function similar to a authorized enterprise.

“When tax season comes round and other people get refunds or stimulus cash, that is placing money within the palms of some folks which might be actively utilizing and struggling,” he stated.

“All of my cash was going to medication and alcohol,” stated Grondin.

Scott Pelletier is commander of the Maine Drug Enforcement Company. Pelletier stated most medication are coming from outdoors the nation.

“Very often, the folks we do are available contact [with] that endure from substance abuse, we’re that first line to get them into that type of remedy earlier than they hit all-time low,” stated Pelletier. “We see it firsthand. There is not sufficient remedy. There aren’t sufficient beds.”

Pelletier says there Maine must concentrate on prevention.

“They’re coming from Mexico, so it might make sense to place extra efforts into addressing that problem on the border,” he stated. “If legislation enforcement does not try to cease the medication coming in, then there shall be increasingly accessible.”

Pelletier says Maine is thought to be “open for enterprise” amongst sellers and consumers.

“The supply has elevated,” Pelletier stated. “Have a look at the overdose deaths. We’re seeing increasingly deaths. We’re seeing increasingly folks coming into the felony justice system due to the trafficking of the unlawful medication.”

Bob Fickett, government director on the Bangor Space Restoration Community, stated current restoration periods have proven him how the efficiency of the medication has elevated.

“To the purpose the place a number of Narcan kits have been utilized in some situations to deliver any individual again from an overdose,” stated Fickett.

He provides the group has been distributing much more Narcan and discovering higher methods to get the Narcan into folks’s palms.

Fickett says all of it goes again to the necessity for restoration assist: psychological well being, bodily well being, job alternatives, housing, meals, and clothes.

“They want job alternatives, and recovery-friendly employers that is an essential piece … and inexpensive housing,” he stated. “All of these issues need to be addressed to get any individual in a secure place.”

Whereas Bangor presents peer-based restoration assist, the town does not have sufficient medical or residential remedy services, he stated.

Grondin is about to graduate from her restoration ‘Drug Court docket’ program in a number of months. She has not used meth or alcohol since December 2019.

“I used to be begging for a method out and I did not know the way to get out of it. This program has been a blessing to me. It is given me a method out of habit,” stated Grondin. “Folks hear habit and they’re simply so disgusted about it, and lots of people do not perceive it, and I believe that is a giant a part of the issue. There is a lack of compassion.”

“We wish to see folks break away from the burden of their habit,” Betters stated.

In case you, a good friend, a neighbor, or a member of the family are battling with habit, here is a listing of assets in Maine that may enable you to get remedy and undergo restoration.

The Disaster Hotline is accessible 24/7 by calling 1-888-568-1112.


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