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Drug And Alcohol Rehab Resources In Maine

The state of Maine is most often referred to as "The Pine Tree State, as it contains 542,629 pine-filled acres of State and National parks. Its renowned for its lobster business--yielding over 40 million pounds annually, making up nearly 90 percent of the nation's lobster supply--and geographically is bigger than the other five New England States combined. Sadly though, in recent times it's become known for something darker-a growing alcohol and drug addiction problem.

Addiction And Economics In The Pine Tree State

Maine boasts a relatively comfortable average annual income level of $73,210, and thus one might easily think that it had been spared the wave of drug addiction affecting poorer states, but this definitely isn't the case. Between 2011 and 2014, drug overdose deaths in Maine increased by 34%, and 1 out of 3 of drug overdose deaths in Maine involved Benzodiazepines, while 1 out of 4 involved heroin, and 1 out of 5 involved fentanyl. (Fentanyl deaths in Maine increased by 377% from 2013-2014!) Despite being well-off in terms of resources, Indiana drug and alcohol abuse continues to rise.

When we look at the relationship between addiction and economics, we quickly realize that it's complicated. Drug and alcohol abuse affects the entire country, and no state in the US has been spared, including Maine. Nationwide, over 60,000 overdoses occurred in 2016, with almost 175 people dying every day. Drug overdoses kill more people annually than suicides, homicides, car accidents and guns, and these numbers increase every year. And, although poorer people are statistically more likely to struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, correlation is not causation. This doesn't necessarily mean that people that are more well-off economically are less likely to become addicted. In fact in some cases, wealthy people can be thrown into poverty as a direct result of addiction. Someone who is solidly middle class can fall into poverty if their addiction leads to poor work performance and job loss. And, if someone has been fired from an old job, it can become a great deal harder to get a new one. It's a vicious downward spiral.

Maine's Pain Pill Problem

Much like the rest of the United States, opioid addiction has moved across Maine like a powerful Nor'easter storm, wreaking havoc on communities and decimating families. In Maine, 202 drug overdose deaths involved opioids in 2018—a rate of 23.4! Opioid addiction is particularly menacing because, due to the highly addictive nature of the drugs, it can sneak up on people, even when they think they're being vigilant.

Prescription painkillers (like Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet) are so highly addictive, in large part, because they directly affect the pleasure centers of the human brain. They trigger the release of endorphins, which block pain perception and boost intense feelings of pleasure and happiness. This creates a short-lasting but extremely powerful sense of well-being. And, when an opioid starts to wear off, it's only human to crave the return of that wonderful sense that everything is perfect and as it should be. This is the first step on the path toward addiction, and it can happen even to people who think they're being careful.

Just as in the rest of the country, the root of the opioid problem in Maine stems from doctors over-prescribing these highly addictive pills when, in many cases, lesser drugs like Tylenol, Excedrin or Advil will do. Opioids may seem safe because a doctor prescribes them, but just one or two of few these prescription pain pills can get people hooked and send them off on a path to full-on dependency. In 2018, Maine providers wrote 48.1 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people!

A Downward Spiral: From Pills To Heroin

Sadly many Maine residents have discovered that abusing prescription painkillers can lead to using even more dangerous substances. Federal and state regulations now try to control and limit the prescribing of opioids, which has caused the use of street drugs like heroin (which gives a similar high and is even cheaper to obtain on the street) to grow. South American heroin is the predominant type found in Maine, and Dominican criminal groups operating in Massachusetts are the primary suppliers of heroin in the state. But the long spiral downward doesn't stop there. When certain street drugs like heroin aren't available, drug addicts often then turn to incredibly dangerous synthetics like fentanyl, (which is far stronger than heroin) and the result is usually a body bag. In the United States, synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths, responsible for 59% of all opioid-related decedents.

Commonly Abused Substances In Maine

A recent study took a look at the substances most commonly abused by youth in Maine, and the numbers are concerning:


  • 12% of Maine high school students (grades 9-12) report they drank alcohol for the first time before age 13 years (other than a few sips.)
  • 22% of these same Maine high school students report they had at least 1 drink of alcohol on at least 1 day during the last month.
  • 41% of Maine high school students (grades 9-12) report they usually obtained the alcohol they drank by someone giving it to them (among students who currently drank alcohol, during the 30 days before the survey.)
  • 4% of these same high school students report they drove a car or other vehicle when they had been drinking alcohol, 1 or more times during the 30 days before the survey (among students who had driven a car or other vehicle in the 30 days before the survey.)


32% of Maine high school students report they've used marijuana (also called grass, pot, or weed) 1 or more times in their lifetime.

Prescription Painkillers / Opioids

3% of Maine youth (ages 12-17) report using pain relievers in a way not directed by a doctor in the past year. This is particularly concerning because we know how incredibly addictive these drugs are.

The Pine Tree State Will Prevail

The good news for Maine residents struggling with drug and alcohol addiction is that help is only a few clicks away. The Pine tree State has a myriad of resources to fit every need, whether you just need counseling, a broader more community-based approach, or full-on detox services. The important part is acknowledging the forces holding you back so you can begin the journey towards breaking free of them.








Maine State Facts
Maine Population: 1,271,775
Law Enforcement Officers in Maine: 2,734
Maine Prison Population: 3,100
Maine Probation Population: 8,939
Violent Crime Rate National Ranking: 4

2004 Federal Drug Seizures in Maine
Cocaine: 4.6 kgs.
Heroin: 0.1 kgs.
Methamphetamine:0.0 kgs.
Marijuana: 280.4 kgs.
Ecstasy: 676 tablets
Methamphetamine Laboratories: 1 (DEA, state, and local)

Maine Drug Situation: Marijuana, locally grown and imported from Canada, Massachusetts, and New York, remains the primary drug of abuse in Maine. The use and availability of cocaine, heroin, and diverted pharmaceuticals continue to increase. Methamphetamine remains a minor concern, but significant potential exists for production and distribution in the state. Interstate 95 provides an important north-south transportation route for traffickers travelling most frequently to sources of drug supply in several northeastern Massachusetts cities. Additionally, Maine’s 228 miles of coastline and 3,478 miles of shoreline offer ample opportunities for maritime smugglers.

Cocaine in Maine: Cocaine is available throughout the state in fractional-ounce to kilogram quantities. Residents, primarily Caucasians, historically have utilized Interstate 95 in passenger vehicles to meet cocaine suppliers, generally Dominican violators based in Lawrence, Lowell, and Lynn, MA. The popularity of crack cocaine continues to increase in southern and central Maine communities, with Biddeford and Lewiston serving as the main distribution points for dealers.

Heroin in Maine: Massachusetts-based Dominican traffickers continue to be the primary suppliers of high quality heroin to the Maine distributors. These distributors, who typically transport the drug in passenger vehicles, provide for an increasing availability of heroin in the state. While use is more prevalent in southern communities, it is also encountered in coastal and Canadian-border communities, and use has spread into rural and remote areas. Heroin abuse has increased, particularly among younger teenagers in Bridgeton, Rockland, Penobscot, and York counties.

Methamphetamine in Maine: There is a potential for methamphetamine to become a problem in Maine. Abuse and availability have increased in Aroostook County. Low-quality metamphetamine is often express-mailed into the state from California and the southwestern states. Trafficking groups supplying methamphetamine to the state generally are connected to outlaw motorcycle clubs or are members of “the rave set.”

The seized methamphetamine labs serve as a reminder that Maine’s size and predominantly rural population create an ideal environment for large-scale methamphetamine manufacturing.

Club Drugs in Maine: Law-enforcement officials in southern Maine have noticed a small increase in the use of MDMA, which continues to be associated with rave parties and the student population.

Marijuana in Maine: Marijuana, historically the illicit drug of choice in the state, is plentiful and readily available. Year-round indoor grows are common, but high-grade marijuana cultivated in Canada has been smuggled over the border. Commercial-grade marijuana is often obtained from middlemen in the southern New England states and New York. Hashish is available sporadically in small quantities, but the increasing popularity of hashish in Canada may change the situation in Maine. Traffickers have moved hashish and hash oil through Maine and into Canada. Caucasian traffickers typically supply locally grown marijuana as well as marijuana shipped from the southwest border and Canada. Shipments ranging from 15 to 500 pounds typically enter the state via Interstate 95 in automobiles, campers, rental trucks, and tractor-trailers. Motorcycle groups continue to control much of the marijuana distribution in Maine, using associates to distribute approximately 300 to 500 pounds monthly.

Maine Marijuana Legislation: Maine has a number of statutes related to marijuana possession, cultivation, trafficking, therapeutic research programs, paraphernalia, illegal importation, and asset forfeiture. These laws are often cited as the reason that Maine residents must travel to obtain their illicit drugs from out-of-state traffickers wary of the state’s tough drug laws.

Other Drugs in Maine: PCP purchased in Boston, MA is available in the southern portion of the state; LSD, available in gelcap form, is abused by young students; and psilocybin mushrooms, most often obtained from commercially available cultivation kits, are available in Maine. The state continues to experience an increase in the availability of diverted pharmaceuticals. Oxycodone products, Percocet, Roxicet, and OxyContin are readily available. Dilaudid is found in Washington County, including the city of Calais. Many instances of doctor-shopping schemes, falsified prescriptions, and pharmacy robberies of OxyContin have been experienced in Lincoln County and the Portland area. Diverted Canadian pharmaceuticals also are being smuggled into Maine.

DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams: This cooperative program with state and local law enforcement counterparts was conceived in 1995 in response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. There have been 409 deployments completed resulting in 16,763 arrests of violent drug criminals as of February 2004. There has been one MET deployment in the State of Maine since the inception of the program, in Lewiston.

DEA Regional Enforcement Teams: This program was designed to augment existing DEA division resources by targeting drug organizations operating in the United States where there is a lack of sufficient local drug law enforcement. This Program was conceived in 1999 in response to the threat posed by drug trafficking organizations that have established networks of cells to conduct drug trafficking operations in smaller, non-traditional trafficking locations in the United States. Nationwide, there have been 22 deployments completed resulting in 608 arrests of drug trafficking criminals as of February 2004. There have been no RET deployments in the State of Maine.

Other Enforcement Operations in Maine: Interstate 95, “The New England Pipeline,” remains the interdiction focus in Maine since it travels through the interior of the state, connects several of the larger cities, and terminates at the Canadian border.