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Mills to hold Maine’s 4th annual opioid summit Monday

Monday's event will gather health care workers, law enforcement officials, policy experts, and members of the public to work together on the opioid crisis.

BANGOR, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills is scheduled to host a summit in Bangor on Monday focused on the state's opioid crisis.

The fourth annual Governor’s Opioid Response Summit brings together health care providers, policy experts, law enforcement officials, Mainers who have struggled with opioid addiction, and families who have lost someone to drugs.

The summit comes as a new report issued by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine shows drug overdoses for the first five months of this year are higher than in the same period last year.

According to the new report, there were 3,962 drug overdoses between Jan. and May 2022 compared to 3,292 in the same five-month period in 2021.

“There’s a reason people use drugs," Maine Director of Opioid Response Gordon Smith told NEWS CENTER Maine. "It’s usually associated with adverse childhood events and trauma. Breaking down that stigma is incredibly important because many people who are using drugs don’t even seek treatment because they’ve been so stigmatized.”

Along with Smith and Gov. Mills, summit participants include Maine Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Nirav Shah, White House Drug Czar Dr. Rahul Gupta, independent Maine Sen. Angus King, and others.

The goal of the event is to get folks together to work on ideas for prevention and harm reduction and to find ways to support people who are recovering from addiction.

For the summit's full agenda, click here

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