Dr. Sorg’s research reveals increasing role of fentanyl in Maine drug deaths

Dr. Marcella Sorg’s research on drug deaths is in the news, revealing the increasing role of fentanyl. The figures on drug deaths recently released by the Attorney General and the Chief Medical Examiner were compiled by Dr. Marcella Sorg of the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. The first quarter figures show that while drug fatalities for the period are similar to the number for the same period of the prior year, the proportion of deaths involving fentanyl increased. The first quarter of 2017 saw 89 drug overdose deaths, compared to 86 in the same period of 2018. In all of 2017 there were 418 drug induced deaths.

The proportion of deaths in 2018 is increasingly due to illicit drugs, especially fentanyl, as opposed to pharmaceutical opioids. Fentanyl was basically nonexistent on Maine streets two years ago, and last year it killed 247 Mainers — more than those who fatally overdosed on heroin, according to the attorney general’s office.

Three articles report on the issue:

Bangor Daily NewsWhy fentanyl is killing so many Mainers

WAGMtv Channel 8: Report shows drug deaths remain high and fentanyl on the rise

Lewiston Sun JournalMaine drug deaths remain high in early 2018, with fentanyl on the rise