AUGUSTA — A task force looking for solutions to Maine’s prescription drug abuse crisis meets again this week, as the rate of drug store robberies in the state explodes.

The 17-member panel, which includes medical and law enforcement representatives, meets Tuesday in Augusta. The Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force gathers as the number of robberies at pharmacies so far this year is roughly the total for all of last year.

Tuesday’s meeting also comes as the number of drug deaths – mostly involving overdoses of opiates – exceeds the number of highway deaths in Maine.

Hoping to get ideas on how to deal with the wave of drug store robberies, Public Safety Commissioner John Morris has called a meeting of representatives of all Maine’s drug store chains on July 9.

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