FARMINGTON — A forum exploring Maine’s heroin epidemic will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, in Lincoln Auditorium at the University of Maine at Farmington. The public is welcome.

Leaders in the community will join moderator Woody Hanstein to discuss how heroin has become such a problem and what the community can do about it.

The panel includes Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck, local psychiatrist Art Dingley and Oxford County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Matt Baker.

More than 20 Mainers die from a heroin overdose each and every month, according to forum sponsor, the Daily Bulldog newspaper in Farmington.

Mills is attempting to deal with this issue on a state law enforcement level and as a member of a new federal task force. 

Peck will explain the challenges the epidemic poses to law enforcement and his department’s use of a new plan that emphasizes treatment for certain drug offenders.

Dingley has been working with people trying to overcome their addiction.

Baker is an experienced police officer whose personal life has been touched by the tragedy of the epidemic.

In the past several months, U.S. Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have called for federal action, the Maine Legislature has unanimously passed emergency legislation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maine has launched a task force in the search for solutions to the problem.

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