LEWISTON — The number of drug overdoses in the Twin Cities has spiked the first half of this year, following statewide and national trends that peg the sharp rise to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In Lewiston, police were dispatched to 127 overdoses between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 this year, a nearly 65% increase reported to police over the same nine months last year, Lewiston Police Chief Brian O’Malley said Wednesday.

Of those 127 overdose patients, 14 died this year compared to 13 last year.

At those overdose calls, O’Malley said his officers administered the opioid antidote Narcan at the scene to 40 of those patients. An additional 32 received Narcan doses from ambulance crews, family members or a friend, O’Malley said.

In Auburn, Police Chief Jason Moen said overdoses in that city for the first half of 2020 were “markedly higher” than in the latter half of 2019.

And overdoses the second quarter of 2020 were “slightly” higher than the first quarter of the year.

Those statistics parallel state numbers and national figures that show the opioid epidemic remains a serious public health threat that has been made worse by COVID-19, according to Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey, who released a report Wednesday highlighting the data.

According to those statistics, Androscoggin County is on track to post 48 drug deaths, tied with Kennebec for fourth highest in the state’s 16 counties. Androscoggin County comprises just 8% of the state’s total population, according to Maine’s attorney general.

In a study compiled by Marcella H. Sorg of the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, this year’s increases in Maine are in line with national increases, which are partly attributed to factors connected to the pandemic, including “isolation, avoidance of medical services, and alterations in the illicit drug supply.”

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