Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Amy Calder email@example.com
(Continued from page 1)
Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey
Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans
National Drug Take Back Day
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 26
Rite Aid, 210 Main St., Waterville;
Rite Aid, 36 China Road, Winslow;
Rite Aid, 123 Main St., Fairfield;
Rite Aid, 19 Main St., Oakland;
Clinton Police Department, 27 Baker St., Clinton;
transfer station, 32 Transfer Station Road, Belgrade;
transfer station, 191 Alder Park Road, China
Permanent drug drop-off boxes also are available at most police departments throughout the year.
For more information: www.tinyurl.com/METakeBack2013
Organizers: area police departments, Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, Healthy Northern Kennebec, MaineGeneral Medical Center, Youth Matter
Maine collects more drugs per capita than any other New England state on drug take-back days, according to McKinney.
He said that while years ago typical opiate addicts were in their 30s and 40s, now teenagers are becoming addicted. One reason is that pills are perceived by many people as medicine — and safe — and therefore, addiction won’t happen to them, he said.
“It’s an epidemic and it’s not just Maine. It’s across the country,” he said. “I was just on a conference call with the director of the Mississippi Board of Narcotics. They have an epidemic of prescription drugs — opiates.”
Initially, OxyContin was popular with users. Oxycodone, hydrocodone and now heroin abuse are increasing, with heroin being cheaper and more available than other drugs, McKinney said.
Social, economic impact
John Martins, director of public and employee communications for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, said that in 2012, 779 babies were born “drug-affected” in Maine.
That number concerns McKinney.
“They require intense medical care in the first 30 days of life,” he said. “There’s a population that hasn’t done anything (drug-related), but they’re being severely affected. There’s also the economic cost on children because of use of opiates by a mother during pregnancy.”
The abuse problem is having a tremendous social and economic effect, according to McKinney.
Prevention coalitions help fund the high cost of prevention and diversion, and everyone is competing for limited funding, he said. Besides the economic effect, addiction is “quite a demon to deal with,” he said.
“The hope and the goal is to prevent others from even initiating that type of behavior, because these drugs are powerful and the rate of addiction is very high with them,” McKinney says.
According to DHHS’ Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, the estimated cost of substance abuse in Maine in 2010 was $1.403 billion, or a cost of $1,057 for every resident. The cost represents a 56.2 percent increase from 2005.
Substance abuse treatment, which cost $47 million, made up the smallest part of the total cost at 3.4 percent; while the largest part, at 24.9 percent, was mortality, which cost $409.6 million, according to that office.
McKinney emphasized the important role law enforcement agencies play in helping combat the prescription drug abuse problem. Both he and Massey said the prescription drug diversion program helps open a dialogue between law enforcement and those who dispense drugs.
“It breaks those barriers that sometimes exist,” McKinney said.
Massey plans to report to the Waterville City Council on Tuesday about his Boston presentation.
Amy Calder — 861-9247