AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price is making a stop in Augusta to meet with governor Paul LePage and those who are working to end the opioid epidemic in Maine, and ultimately, across the country.
Tom Price's Wednesday visit is part of a listening tour organized by President Trump's administration to tackle the national war on drugs. Secretary Price is traveling to several states to discuss plans and actions being taken to stop the staggering and growing numbers of opioid overdose deaths in recent years.
In Maine alone, the overdose death rate rose more than 26% from 2014 to 2015. Last year the rate of opioid overdose deaths rose sharply at 40%.
Members of Maine's recovery community, law enforcement, survivors and family members as well as other stakeholders are expected to attend the listening session Wednesday morning.
Chief Justice Saufley along with Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton will be at the session. Also Maine's Public Safety Commissioner John Morris, CEO of Maine General hospital and some recovering addicts will also be there. Senator King will have a staff person there and possibly the rest of Maine's delegation will have representatives too.
Dr. Price's office says the federal government hopes to find ways they can assist in the ongoing battle against opioid abuse through this listening tour.
The meeting with Price and LePage comes at an opportune time for the Maine governor, whose bill to charge repeat drug abusers for the life-saving naloxone when they overdose was heard on Monday.