NORTHPORT — Maine’s governor and attorney general plan to create a new task force to reduce prescription drug abuse in Maine.

Attorney General William Schneider announced the decision today at the end of a day-long summit focusing on the expanding problem of painkiller abuse and addiction.

The first mission of the task force, he said, will be to implement recommendations generated by about 150 government officials, physicians, drug enforcement agents and others at the conference. The recommendations include a new education campaign to prevent pill abuse and a new system for information sharing between the law enforcement and medical communities.

12:42 p.m.

NORTHPORT — Gov. Paul LePage urged action today during a statewide summit on fighting drug abuse.

“Prescription drug abuse is a problem for all Mainers, all Maine families and particularly for those who are afflicted with addiction,” LePage said, addressing about 150 government officials, medical professionals, addiction experts and others.

LePage said the problem is getting worse and called it a significant threat to the security of Maine’s communities. He said the medical community has to help by limiting the amount of painkillers prescribed.

“We need to get these drugs out of the hands of the wrong people. Those who have addictions, we need to treat them.”

9:40 a.m.

NORTHPORT — About 150 government officials, law enforcement leaders, physicians and others have begun a day-long summit about prescription drug abuse in Maine.

Attorney General William Schneider told participants he arranged the conference to identify short- and long-term actions that can help reduce a problem that has grown steadily worse over the past decade.

“It’s cried out for something to address it,” he said.

Schneider’s office has been planning the summit for months. It follows a six-day series of articles published last week by MaineToday Media that Schneider and others cited as a resource that lays out the issues surrounding prescription painkiller abuse in the state.

“We have today in this room the people who are in position to make decisions,â” said Robert Crowley, a retired superior court justice who is facilitating the summit. “We need to take comprehensive action to begin to address the problem.”


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