The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported a spike in overdoses from illicit drugs Saturday in Cumberland County – at least 10 since Friday night.

Patients who had symptoms associated with an opioid overdose required emergency medical care at local hospitals, and naloxone was administrated, the agency said in a statement released shortly before 3 p.m. No deaths have been attributed to the overdoses, but in some cases, multiple doses of naloxone were required to revive patients.

Many of the individuals reported purchasing what they thought was cocaine, according to the Maine CDC. But the illicit drug used by those who overdosed contained “substances that place individuals at risk of opioid overdose,” the agency said. Cocaine is a stimulant, not an opioid.

The reported cases occurred in Cumberland County, but the geographic extent of the risk is being investigated by the Maine CDC as it works with the Northern New England Poison Center and the Maine Department of Public Safety to monitor the situation.

“We’re acting aggressively to alert Maine people to this potentially deadly situation,” Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said in a statement. “People need to be aware of this tainted product on the streets.”

Saturday’s announcement by the Maine CDC followed a report by Portland police on Jan. 24 that there had been five deaths among 11 drug overdoses reported in the city so far this year.

If someone overdoses, call 911 immediately and administer naloxone if possible, Shah urged.

According to the Maine CDC, the signs of an overdose can be difficult to recognize. Symptoms include: small, constricted “pinpoint pupils;” falling asleep or loss of consciousness; slow and shallow breathing; choking or gurgling; pale, blue or cold skin; and a limp body.

More information can be found at: maine.gov/dhhs/samhs/gethelp and maine.gov/dhhs/syndromic.


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