Only one other state passes Maine in ER visits because of opioid overdoes

I am coming to the end of my time managing this blog. There are four local Bangor healthcare organizations that contribute to it and on behalf of my organization — St. Joseph Healthcare — I’ve been writing for it since April.  At the end of this month I’ll hand it off to another provider.

So, as I thought about my final blog post or two, a few ideas came to mind — for example, how members of the public can connect with the Nar-Anon group that meets on Thursdays here at St. Joe’s;  a recap of what I have learned and experienced over the past three months contributing to this blog. To get some inspiration I decided to flip through today’s BDN.

And there it was, on the bottom of the front page:

“Maine second-highest in US for rate of ER visits due to heroin, opioid use”

BDN June 22, 2017

I found what I needed to write about. Because it shows the reality — things are getting worse.

Darren Fishell, Portland-based reported for the BDN tells it like it is:


Emergency rooms in Maine have seen the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis more acutely than anywhere but Massachusetts.

Data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project reveal that trend and a more detailed look at opioid-related hospital visits by age, sex, location and income levels, showing that lower-income Mainers have higher rates and that rural ER visits are about on par with urban areas.

The figures include visits caused by heroin and other synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

The data show Maine was second-highest, out of 32 states, for the rate of opioid-related ER visits in 2014, after topping the nation in 2009 and 2010. The 2014 data is the most recent available for most states and Maine.

What do we do? How can we help? Here is something we can do today that will help us find a bit of peace.  Go to the Community Health Leadership Board’s website and donate $50 for a dose of Narcan. $50 will save a life. Getting that tool in the hands of our emergency medical service women and men will not solve the entire problem, but it will at least help one life.

Click here to help.