Media report on 2017 drug overdose death statistics compiled by Sorg

The Associated Press, Portland Press Herald, Penobscot Bay Pilot, WABI (Channel 5), Bangor Daily News, Maine Public and WVII (Channel 7) reported Maine set another record for drug overdose deaths last year. The  Office of the Maine Attorney General reported that 418 people died from drug overdoses in 2017. That’s an 11 percent increase over the 376 overdose deaths in 2016, but the number has been climbing sharply for the past five years, the Press Herald reported. The new overdose report was compiled by Marcella Sorg, an anthropologist and research professor with the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine. Attorney General Janet Mills said this year’s increase in deaths was driven by an increase of 27 percent in deaths due to illegal fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. Mills said 2017 also included an increase in deaths from cocaine and methamphetamine, according to the AP. News Center Maine carried the AP report.