Sheriff Trafton tapped for state opioid task force
Waldo County Sheriff Jeff Trafton will serve on a legislative committee to address the growing opioid epidemic plaguing the state.
Trafton is one of several appointments to the committee, the Task Force to Address the Opioid Crisis in the State, announced March 10 by Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Waldo County.
“Sheriff Trafton has been on the front lines of Maine’s drug epidemic, so he will bring an invaluable law enforcement perspective to the work of this task force," Thibodeau said in a statement on the sheriff's appointment.
The committee was created after the state experienced a record number of opiate overdoses last year. According to figures provided by the Attorney General's Office, more than one person a day died of a drug overdose.
Trafton said he was contacted by Thibodeau's office about serving on the task force and gladly accepted the offer.
"I was very excited because it's a huge problem," Trafton said. "We see the effects of it every day."
Opioid addiction, and the resulting overdoses, has become so prevalent, Trafton said that most of his department's deputies carry and are trained to administer Narcan, which can prevent or reverse the effects of opioids.
Part of the task force's work will entail looking at existing state laws regarding law enforcement, prevention, treatment and recovery. They will also review a report and recommendations from Maine Opiate Collaborative, as well as initiatives that have proven successful in other states.
Trafton will work with lawmakers, medical professionals and drug treatment specialists who also serve on the task force. In addition to bringing his law expertise to the group, Trafton said he hopes he will gain a greater understanding of opioid addiction.
An initial report from the group will be submitted to the Legislature April 30, with a final report due by Dec. 6. Lawmakers will use the report as the basis for legislation, which will be submitted during both sessions of the 128th Legislature.