The state of Maine has a new Governor, Janet Mills, inaugurated January 2, and the opioid crisis is her top priority. No sooner was she sworn in did Mills declare her plans for comprehensive action to fight the crisis in the state. Maine has consistently and tragically been in the top 10 in per capita numbers of opioid-related deaths and Maine had one of the biggest increases in overdose deaths between 2017 and 2018.
A new “czar“ will be in appointed to lead the state’s efforts. And by executive order the new Governor has expanded Medicaid to 70,000 Mainers, making treatment for substance use much more accessible.
Mills, the first female Governor in the states 199-year history, vowed to “marshal the collective power and resources of state government.” Her orientation differs dramatically from the previous administration which had focused on law-enforcement.
Strive and VFR are proud to have deep roots in New England and we applaud Mills’ determination to attack the epidemic in an all-around way. Activists and experts in the state have long advocated repeal of the state’s time limit on methadone treatment, which is currently two years, increasing awareness and professional education about substance use disorder, and allowing treatment for incarcerated people in Maine.