Mills Administration on 2019 Drug Overdose Report

Governor Janet Mills, Director of Opioid Response Gordon Smith, and Director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Behavioral Health Jessica Pollard issued the following statements in response to the 2019 drug overdose death report released today by the Maine Attorney General’s Office:

“Substance use disorder is a challenging, complicated disease. There is no quick or easy cure. Instead, it requires enduring treatment and sustained support – which my Administration will continue to provide,” said Governor Janet Mills. “We will continue to put the full force of this Administration behind conquering this disease, supporting the families who have lost loved ones, the businesses who have lost valued employees, and all the communities that have been diminished by this public health crisis. This epidemic grew over a long, long time, and it will take a long, long time to defeat it and make our state whole again.”

“These data reinforce the fact that substance use disorder is a relentless disease that is still taking the lives of too many Maine people,” said Gordon Smith, Director of Opioid Response. “Our devotion to helping Mainers achieve and maintain long-term recovery must be just as relentless. With our community partners, we will continue to strengthen prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts and identify new ways, especially during the challenges posed by COVID-19, to support Maine people in recovery and their families.”

“Behind these numbers are our friends, neighbors, and loved ones throughout Maine who have been affected by substance use disorder,” said Jessica Pollard, Director of the DHHS Office of Behavioral Health. “We recognize the lives lost to this disease, the grief that reverberates throughout their families and communities, and the need to continue to adapt our response to support effective prevention, treatment and recovery. We want all Maine people to know that even in the face of this pandemic, help is still available.”

For information about substance use disorder support and resources, call 211, text your zip code to 898-211, email, visit the Maine 211 website, or visit the DHHS Office of Behavioral Health’s resource page.