Opioid Treatment In Maine: Heroin, Oxycontin, Methadone, and Buprenorphine (Suboxone)

Over the past decade, heroin has become more available, purity levels have increased, and street prices for the drug have dropped. As a result, there has been a dramatic increase in heroin addiction in Maine and the nation. Diversion and abuse of OxyContin and other prescription narcotics has also increased at an alarming rate in the past few years, prompting intensive federal, state, and community responses to the problem of opioid abuse.

Methadone has been available for treatment of opioid addiction in Maine since 1995. By 1996, there were 200 people receiving this medication. Today there are approximately 1500 opiate addicted individuals receiving methadone in Maine.

In October, 2002, another medication for treatment of opiate dependence, buprenorphine, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid addiction.

Community Awareness Campaign

The Office of Substance Abuse, with federal technical assistance, developed a community awareness project during the summer of 2003 to spread the message that methadone maintenance is a safe and effective treatment when participants take a responsible role in their recovery.

The campaign included circulating napkins and phone cards to methadone clients in the Portland area with reminders to be responsible about safeguarding their medicine. Two radio spots were also aired in June that featured two people in recovery who volunteered to share their life experiences. To hear these radio spots, click on the links below.


Napkin: methadone is serious medicine Don't mix share borrow

Calling Card:

Calling Card: Don't mix share borrow. Do take ten minutes to think about it if you are considering mixing your methadone with any other drugs or alcohol...

Radio Spot #1 (mp3 format)

Radio Spot #2 (mp3 format)


Opioids - General Information

Research Report Series - Prescription Drugs: Abuse and Addiction http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Prescription/prescription2.html#Opioids

Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, Codeine and Other Opioid Painkillers

Overdose and Diversion

Maine Drug-Related Mortality Patterns 1997-2002
http://www.maine.gov/bds/osa/pubs/osa/2003/drugreport.pdf (PDF 331 kb)

A Public Health Strategic Plan to Address Opiate Abuse and Overdose: A Report from the MCPH/MPHA/OSA Opiate Abuse and Overdose Project
http://www.maine.gov/bds/osa/pubs/osa/2003/opiatestrategic1202.doc (Word 95 kb)
http://www.maine.gov/bds/osa/pubs/osa/2003/opiatestrategic1202.pdf (PDF 58 kb)

Diverted Pharmaceuticals, Maine Drug Threat Assessment Update, April 2002


Heroin Abuse in the United States, OAS Working Paper, August 1997

Heroin Fact Sheet, Office of National Drug Control Policy http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/factsht/heroin/index.html


Oxycontin: Prescription Drug Abuse, April 2001
http://www.samhsa.gov/centers/csat/content/oxycontinadvisory.pdf (397 kb)
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment fact sheet about OxyContin

Oxycontin Abuse: Maine's Newest Epidemic, January 2002. Substance Abuse Services Commission


New Study Underscores Effectiveness of Methadone Maintenance as Treatment for Heroin Addiction. NIDA News Release, March 7, 2000

ONDCP Fact Sheet: Methadone, April 2000
http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/pdf/ncj175678.pdf (PDF 151 kb)
http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/factsht/methadone/index.html (html)

Methadone Oral Fact Sheet - Medline Plus

Profile: Methadone Maintenace - The "Invisible" Success Story. (Moyers on Addiction)

Medical Assisted Treatment

Buprenorphine (Suboxone)

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment homepage for Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine Physician Locator - Center for Substance Abuse Treatment

Many of the documents listed on this page are in PDF format. The free Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view them. Printouts of these documents are also available upon request.