Increasing heroin, cocaine, and buprenorphine arrests reported to the Maine Diversion Alert Program.

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Medical Education, Emergency Medicine

Journal Title

Forensic science international

MeSH Headings

Adolescent, Adult, Age Distribution, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Buprenorphine, Cocaine, Drug Users, Female, Fentanyl, Harm Reduction, Heroin, Humans, Hydrocodone, Hypnotics and Sedatives, Maine, Male, Middle Aged, Narcotic-Related Disorders, Oxycodone, Public Health, Sex Distribution, Substance-Related Disorders, Young Adult


BACKGROUND: The opioid overdose crisis is especially pronounced in Maine. The Diversion Alert Program (DAP) was developed to combat illicit drug use and prescription drug diversion by facilitating communication between law enforcement and health care providers with the goal of limiting drug-related harms and criminal behaviors. Our objectives in this report were to analyze 2014-2017 DAP for: (1) trends in drug arrests and, (2) differences in arrests by offense, demographics (sex and age) and by region.

METHODS: Drug arrests (N=8193, 31.3% female, age=33.1±9.9) reported to the DAP were examined by year, demographics, and location.

RESULTS: The most common substances of the 10,064 unique charges reported were heroin (N=2203, 21.9%), crack/cocaine (N=945, 16.8%), buprenorphine (N=812, 8.1%), and oxycodone (N=747, 7.4%). While the overall number of arrests reported to the DAP declined in 2017, the proportion of arrests involving opioids (heroin, buprenorphine, or fentanyl) and stimulants (cocaine/crack cocaine, or methamphetamine), increased (p60 (6.6%) relative to young-adults (18-29, 22.3%, p

CONCLUSION: Heroin had the most arrests from 2014 to 2017. Buprenorphine, fentanyl and crack/cocaine arrests increased appreciably suggesting that improved treatment is needed to prevent further nonmedical use and overdoses. The Diversion Alert Program provided a unique data source for research, a harm-reduction tool for health care providers, and an informational resource for law enforcement.



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