AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine is starting a new pilot project to fight the opioid epidemic in Washington County.
Two weeks ago on Thursday, June 27, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law emergency bill "Resolve, To Establish a Pilot Project To Save Lives and Support People with Substance Use Disorder in Washington County."
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Anne Perry (D-Calais), will establish a two-year pilot project with different state and local agencies to create a model to treat opioid abuse issues.
The Department of Health and Human Services will work with Healthy Acadia to establish the project, which will focus specifically on Washington County, taking unique characteristics of the area into account.
The pilot project will create a phone system, available to anyone in Washington County at any time to help people with services related to substance use disorder treatment and recovery.
It will also establish a council made up of representatives and organizations from around the community to provide services for substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery.
Following the project, the Department will report its findings to a joint standing committee no later than November 30, 2020.
Maine has seen a slight decrease in opioid-related overdoses recently.
The Associated Press reports that from January to March this year, there were 74 drug fatalities, compared to 86 the year before.