The Waterville state representative who sponsored a bill to help prevent drug overdose deaths will participate in a candlelight vigil in Augusta’s Mill Park tonight.

Rep. Henry Beck, a Democrat, sponsored the bill that allows a friend or other person close to an opiate user to administer naloxone, also known as Narcan, according to the House Democratic Office. Beck is planning to attend the event at 7 p.m. organized by the MaineGeneral Harm Reduction for International Overdose Awareness Day.

“The availability of naloxone for individuals experiencing drug overdose is nothing short of the difference between life and death,” said Beck, in the press release. “This law is about ensuring that every life that can be saved will be.”

The problem of opiate addiction is rising, as evidenced by an analysis conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Office of the Maine Attorney General.

The analysis showed that 105 people died from a drug overdose in Maine in the first half of this year and of those, 37 were primarily attributable to heroin and 26 related to fentanyl, a narcotic pain reliever that is sometimes combined with heroin.

Because of the growing problem, Augusta police and substance abuse agencies are working together on a program that would pair drug addicts with peers who would guide them through rehabilitation.

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